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High School Bullying as a Risk for Later Depression and Suicidality

Authors

  • Anat Brunstein Klomek PhD,

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • Marjorie Kleinman MS,

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • Elizabeth Altschuler MA,

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • Frank Marrocco PhD,

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • Lia Amakawa MA,

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • Madelyn S. Gould PhD, MPH

    1. Anat Brunstein Klomek, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel and Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA; Marjorie Kleinman, Elizabeth Altschuler, Lia Amakawa, and Madelyn S. Gould, Division of Child Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI); Frank Marrocco, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University.
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  • The project was supported by a grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, CDC grant R49 CE000258 and NIMH grant R01-MH64632.

Address correspondence to Madelyn S. Gould, NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032; E-mail: gouldm@childpsych.columbia.edu

Abstract

This is the first study to examine whether high school students experiencing frequent bullying behaviors are at risk for later depression and suicidality. A total of 236 students who reported frequent bullying behavior without depression or suicidality during a suicide screening were interviewed 4 years later to reassess depression, suicidal ideation, attempts, substance problems, and functional impairment and were compared to at-risk youth identified during the screen, including 96 youth who also experienced bullying behavior. Youth who only reported frequent bullying behaviors (as bullies, victims, or both) did not develop later depression or suicidality and continued to have fewer psychiatric problems than students identified as at-risk for suicide. Students who experienced bullying behaviors and depression or suicidality were more impaired 4 years later than those who had only reported depression or suicidality. Thus, assessment of bullying behaviors in screening protocols is recommended.

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