Global risks of suicidal behaviours and being bullied and their association in adolescents: School-based health survey in 83 countries

James Jie Tang, Yizhen Yu, Holly C. Wilcox, Chun Kang, Kun Wang, Cunku Wang, Yu Wu, Ruoling Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Global risks of suicidal behaviours (SB) and being bullied as well as their association among adolescents have been poorly understood. We aimed to determine the risks of suicidal ideation (SI), suicide planning (SP), suicide attempt (SA) and being bullied in adolescents and their related associations across gender, countries and different WHO regions. Methods: We examined data from the Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS), which recorded health behaviours among adolescents aged 12 to 15 years from 83 countries. We computed prevalence rates of SB and being bullied and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Multilevel models were employed to examine the association of being bullied with risks of SI, SP and SA. Results: The overall prevalence of SI was 16·5%, SP 16·5%, SA 16·4%, and being bullied 35·3%. The highest risks of SB and being bullied were in Africa (SI 19·9%, SP 23·2%, SA 20·8%, being bullied 48·0%). Compared to boys, girls had an increased risk for SI (18·2%) and SP (17·3%) but similar risk for SA (16·7%) and being bullied (33·3%). Being bullied was associated with SA (adjusted odds ratio ‒ aOR 2·14, 95%CI 2·06–2·23), more strongly than SI (1·83, 1·78–1·89) and SP (1·70, 1·65–1·76). The strongest association with SA was in the Western Pacific (2·68, 2·45–2·92) and with SI (2·04, 1·74–2·39) and SP (1·81, 1·68–1·95) were in Southeast Asia. There were no gender differences in aOR for SI and SP, but the aOR for SA among boys (2·28, 2·14–2·42) was significantly greater than among girls (2·04, 1·93–2·15), ratio of two odds ratios was 1.12 (P = 0.008). Interpretation: SB and being bullied were common among adolescents worldwide. The findings of gender differences in SB, being bullied and their association could inform the design of prevention programmes to reduce the risks of SI, SP and SA in adolescents worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100253
JournalEClinicalMedicine
Volume19
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Being bullied
  • Gender differences
  • Global health
  • Regional variation
  • Suicidal behaviours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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