Bullying Victimization and Suicide Ideation and Behavior Among Adolescents in Europe: A 10-Country Study

Shira Barzilay, Anat Brunstein Klomek, Alan Apter, Vladimir Carli, Camilla Wasserman, Gergö Hadlaczky, Christina W. Hoven, Marco Sarchiapone, Judit Balazs, Agnes Kereszteny, Romuald Brunner, Michael Kaess, Julio Bobes, Pilar Saiz, Doina Cosman, Christian Haring, Raphaela Banzer, Paul Corcoran, Jean Pierre Kahn, Vita PostuvanTina Podlogar, Merike Sisask, Airi Varnik, Danuta Wasserman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To examine risk and protective factors moderating the associations between three types of bullying victimization (physical, verbal, and relational bullying) with suicide ideation/attempts in a large representative sample of European adolescents. Methods We analyzed cross-sectional data on 11,110 students (mean age = 14.9, standard deviation =.89) recruited from 168 schools in 10 European Union countries involved in the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe study. A self-report questionnaire was used to measure victimization types, depression, anxiety, parental and peer support, and suicide ideation and attempts. For each outcome, we applied hierarchical nonlinear models controlling for sociodemographics. Results Prevalence of victimization was 9.4% physical, 36.1% verbal, and 33.0% relational. Boys were more likely to be physically and verbally victimized, whereas girls were more prone to relational victimization. Physical victimization was associated with suicide ideation, and relational victimization was associated with suicide attempts. Other associations between victimization and suicidality (ideation/attempts) were identified through analysis of interactions with additional risk and protective factors. Specifically, verbal victimization was associated with suicide ideation among adolescents with depression who perceived low parental support. Similarly, low peer support increased the associations between verbal victimization and suicide ideation. Verbal victimization was associated with suicide attempts among adolescents with anxiety who perceived low parental support. Conclusions Findings support the development of prevention strategies for adolescent victims of bullying who may be at elevated risk for suicide ideation/behavior, by taking into account gender, the type of bullying, symptomatology, and availability of interpersonal support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Adolescence
  • Bullying
  • Ideation
  • Suicide
  • Suicide attempt
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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