Teen Girls May be More Vulnerable to Bullying Than Boys

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.

Girls are bullied more often than boys and are more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide, according to a new study published in the journal Nursing Research.

“Bullying is significantly associated with depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide planning and suicide attempts,” said study leader Dr. Nancy Pontes, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden in New Jersey. “We wanted to look at this link between bullying victimization, depressive symptoms, and suicidality by gender.”

The research team looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) nationally representative Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2011-2015 and found that more females are negatively impacted by bullying.

Pontes says that, in general, girls are more often bullied than boys, and girls are also more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide compared with boys, regardless of being bullied or not — although boys are more likely to die by suicide.

In this study, the researchers looked at significant associations and not direct causal links. Using two methods of statistical analysis, the researchers showed the probability of a link between bullying and depressive symptoms and suicide risk, and then compared the results of the two methods.

When they applied the more commonly used multiplicative interactions method, their results matched the findings of some other studies, which showed no difference between males and females being bullied at school and having depressive symptoms or suicide risk behaviors.

However, when they applied the International Journal of Epidemiology-recommended methodology of additive interactions, they found the effects of bullying to be significantly higher in females than males on every measure of psychological distress or suicidal thoughts and actions.

“To our knowledge, our paper is the first in nursing to compare these two methodologies, and to challenge the status quo of analysis in our field,” Pontes said.

Bullying among boys tends to be physical. Pontes says that many schools are cracking down on physical bullying which people can see, and this is probably preventing and stopping the type of bullying more common among males.

Among females, however, the bullying is less visible. It is often relational bullying, such as excluding someone from activities and social circles, or spreading rumors about them. The actions are not overt, Pontes said, so they could go on for a long time without anyone else knowing.

Pontes believes that preventing bullying should begin at a young age. She says parents should start teaching preschool children that bullying is unacceptable. “There are parents who see it as a rite of passage,” said Pontes. “They say, ‘Everyone gets bullied. You have to buck up. Stand up for yourself.’”

Source: PsychCentral

Back to Top
[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Jim has over 30 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)