Suicide rates in the US are continuing to grow each year. With the numbers significantly rising, suicide is a major health concern that needs to be addressed. In 2010, suicide accounted for nearly 38,364 deaths in the United States, which is a 16% increase since 1999 (Caine, 2013). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in our nation, but more specifically it ranks as the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents in the US. Greater attempts to figure out the underlying cause behind youth suicide are being made because the number of deaths is continuing to increase. Many risk factors are associated with adolescent suicide, but one that is aggressively surfacing more and more today is bullying. Research and reports have found that bullying is a stressor that significantly increases the rate of adolescent suicide (Litwiller & Brausch, 2013). The objective of this paper is to discuss the reasons why bullying leads to adolescent suicide, the different forms of bullying that are linked to it, and the ways to fix this important issue.
Bullies are individuals who are trying to gain a dominant position by using aggressive behaviors towards others. Bullying can range anywhere between the forms of physical, verbal, social (rumor spreading), and cyber. Physical, verbal, and social bullying are all considered traditional forms of bullying, while cyber bullying is a newer form that is quickly gaining popularity due to constant advancements in technology. All of these forms can lead to an increase in adolescent suicide rates, but some are at higher risk than others.
Researchers Bauman, Toomey, and Walker (2013) used a risk behavior survey on 1491 high school students to find a gender difference between the affects traditional bullying and cyber bullying on suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts. The results showed that female victims of both traditional and cyber bullying were most likely to engage in suicidal behaviors. Males were three times more likely than females to bully others in both traditional and cyber bullying forms. Females that were victims of traditional bullying were twice as likely than male victims to experience suicidal behavior. However, the females that were victims of cyber bullying scored the highest risk of suicide. The reasoning behind this high score could have to do with females being more concerned with their social status, which can be put at a higher risk of being ruined since cyber bullying can publicly display humiliation much stronger than other forms of bullying. Although traditional forms of bullying still link to adolescent suicide, the research suggests that cyber bullying has the highest risk for suicide across both genders (Bauman, Toomey, and Walker, 2013).
Even though there is an importance on the different forms of bullying when studying adolescent suicide, it is also important to discuss the various involvements youths can in bullying. Researchers Klomek, Marrocco, Kleinman, Schonfeld, and Gould (2007) state...