Journal Article

Pathways linking bullying victimisation and suicidal behaviours among adolescents

Published: 2021



To examine the pathways explaining the association between bullying victimisation and suicidal behaviours among school-based adolescents.


We used data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey from 90 countries conducted between 2003 and 2017. We applied multivariate regression and generalised structural equation models to examine the pathways.


Of 280,076 study adolescents, 32.4% experienced bullying and 12.1%, 11.1% and 10.9% reported suicidal ideation, suicidal planning and suicidal attempt, respectively. Adolescents who experienced bullying had higher rates of hunger (8.7% vs 5.0%), drinking soft drinks (44.0% vs 40.2%), truancy (35.8% vs 22.7%), smoking (14.0% vs 6.9%), alcohol consumption (19.9% vs 11.8%), peer victimisation (54.0% vs 25.6%), peer conflict (47.4% vs 20.1%), sleep disturbance (13.7% vs 5.6%), loneliness (18.1% vs 7.6%), no close friends (7.5% vs 5.2%), lack of peer support (64.9% vs 53.3%), lack of parental connectedness (67.0% vs 60.4%) and less parental bonding (64.1% vs 55.2%). Nearly one-fourth (18.7%) of the total association between bullying and suicidal ideation was mediated by loneliness. Similarly, sleep disturbances and alcohol consumption also mediated 4 to 9% of the association between bullying and suicidal behaviours.


This study suggests targeted policies and early implementation of interventional strategies focusing on addressing loneliness, sleep disturbance and alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of adverse suicidal behaviours among adolescents.


Baxter J.Cleary A.Fatima Y.Hasan M.Mamun A.Pandey S.Tariqujjaman Md.