National trends and disparities in bullying and suicidal behavior among American adolescent demographic subgroups

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J Am Acad child psychiatry for adolescents. 26 April 2022: S0890-8567(22)00210-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2022.04.011. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Suicidal behavior and bullying victimization are important indicators of adolescent psychological distress and are determined by gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual identity. This study aimed to estimate the trends and disparities of these factors according to the main demographic data.

METHOD: Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2015-2019, N=44,066) were collected biennially through national cross-sectional surveys of American adolescents in school. Survey-weighted logistic regressions examined disparities in bullying and suicidal behavior over the past year, overall and across demographics.

RESULTS: Bullying in 2019 was highest among female students (compared to male students) (OR=1.82, 95% CI:[1.62, 2.06]), Native American/Alaska Native students (vs white) (OR = 1.48, [0.91, 2.41]p>.05), and gay/lesbian (vs heterosexual) students (OR= 2.81, [2.07, 3.81]). Disparities in suicidal behavior affected similar groups. There was little evidence of changes in disparities since 2015, with the exception of bullying for gay/lesbian teens. The prevalence of bullying victimization among gay and lesbian teens increased from 31.6% to 44.5% between 2015 and 2019, overtaking the bisexual and “Not sure” groups to be the sexual identity group with the highest rate. highest in bullying victimization.

CONCLUSION: Interventions that operate at multiple structural levels and empower marginalized youth are needed.

PMID:35489630 | DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2022.04.011