Suicides by victims of bullying have received recent public attention and have been recognized as a serious social problem. In fact, school bullying is not a recent phenomenon, but it has become a growing concern due to media reports about children who committed suicide after being victimized by bullies. Reports of school bullying in the wake of a recent series of suicide cases among children have been a cause for alarm in South Korea. According to previous research, the prevalence of school bullying is 5-12% among adolescents in South Korea [1,2]. Additionally, previous studies have suggested that victims of school bullying are more likely to have diverse psychosocial problems including depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, academic maladjustment, antisocial personality, and violence and aggression, and that these can be predisposing factors for suicide [3-6]. Moreover, school bullying is generally regarded as a risk factor for suicide [7,8]. Hence, it is important to identify variables intervening between school bullying and suicide.
In 2013, the suicide rate of 10-24 year-olds in South Korea was 9.4 persons per 100,000 whereas the average suicide rate for the similar agegroup in the nations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was 6.5 persons per 100,000 . Hence, concern about adolescent suicide has gradually increased in the area of mental health promotion of South Korea . Gender, socioeconomic status, family structure, depressive symptoms, school bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual minority status, impulsivity, aggression, low self-esteem and other variables have been suggested as potential risk factors for adolescent suicide [7,11-13]. Variables intervening between school bullying and suicidal ideation have, to our knowledge, rarely been examined in previous studies . In the present work we used Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), which is able to evaluate the relationships between several risk factors simultaneously. In addition, we show that school bullying increases the risk of suicidal ideation and that this risk is mediated by comorbid conditions in adolescents. Among latent variables, depressive symptoms have a strong association with suicidal ideation, and school bullying is associated with depressive symptoms [2,4,6,7,13-16]. Hawker and Boulton suggested that the trauma of school bullying can lead to psychosocial maladjustments such as depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and loneliness . Victimization by bullying, especially, is related to depressive, anxious and psychosomatic symptoms . Based on these earlier studies, we anticipated that there would be a direct relationship between depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, and that school bullying would be related to suicidal ideation via the intermediary of depressive symptoms.
Citation: Min A, Park SC, Jang EY, Park YC, Choi J (2015) Variables Linking School Bullying and Suicidal Ideation in Middle School Students in South Korea. J Psychiatry 18:268. doi: 10.4172/Psychiatry.1000268