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Self-Harm, Suicidal Behaviours, and Cyberbullying in Children and Young People: Systematic Review / Ann John; Alexander Charles Glendenning; Amanda Marchant; Paul Montgomery; Anne Stewart; Sophie Wood; Keith Lloyd; Keith Hawton
Journal of Medical Internet Research, Volume: 20, Issue: 4, Start page: e129
Swansea University Author: Glendenning, Alexander
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BackgroundGiven concerns about bullying via electronic communication in children and young people and its possible contribution to self-harm (SH) we have reviewed the evidence for associations between cyberbullying involvement and SH or suicidal behaviours (such as suicidal ideation, suicide plans a...
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BackgroundGiven concerns about bullying via electronic communication in children and young people and its possible contribution to self-harm (SH) we have reviewed the evidence for associations between cyberbullying involvement and SH or suicidal behaviours (such as suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts) in children and young people. ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to systematically review the current evidence examining the association between cyberbullying involvement as victim and/or perpetrator and SH and suicidal behaviours in children and young people (under 25-years), and where possible, to meta-analyse data on the associations. MethodsAn electronic literature search was conducted for all studies published between 01/01/1996 and 03/02/2017 across sources including Medline, Cochrane, and PsycINFO. Articles were included if the study examined any association between cyberbullying involvement and SH or suicidal behaviours and reported empirical data in a sample under 25-years of age. Quality of included papers was assessed and data extracted. Meta-analyses of data were conducted.ResultsThirty-one eligible articles from 24 independent studies were included covering a population of 155,471 children and young people. Twenty-five articles (20 independent studies, n = 115,056) identified associations (negative influences) between cybervictimisation and SH/suicidal behaviours or between perpetrating cyberbullying and suicidal behaviours. Three additional articles, in which the cyberbullying, SH or suicidal behaviours measures had been combined with other measures (such as traditional bullying and mental health problems), also showed negative influences (n = 44,526). Three articles showed no significant associations (n = 4,733). Meta-analyses, producing odds ratios (OR) as a summary measure of effect size (e.g. ratio of the odds of cybervictims who have experienced SH versus non-victims who have experienced SH) showed that, compared with non-victims, those who have experienced cybervictimisation were: 2·35 [1·65, 3·34] times as likely to SH; 2·10 [1·73, 2·55] times as likely to exhibit suicidal behaviours; 2·57 [1·69, 3·90] times more likely to attempt suicide; and 2·15 [1·70, 2·71] times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Cyberbullying perpetrators were 1·21 [1·02, 1·44] times more likely to exhibit suicidal behaviours and 1·23 [1·10, 1·37] times more likely to experience suicidal ideation than non-perpetrators.ConclusionsVictims of cyberbullying are at a greater risk than non-victims of both SH and suicidal behaviours. To a lesser extent, perpetrators of cyberbullying are at risk of suicidal behaviours and suicidal ideation when compared to non-perpetrators. Policymakers and schools should prioritise the inclusion of cyberbullying involvement in programmes to prevent traditional bullying. Type of cyberbullying involvement, frequency, and gender should be assessed in future studies.
Cyberbullying; bullying; self harm; suicide; suicidal behaviours; suicide attempt; suicidal ideation
Swansea University Medical School