Depression and anxiety have a larger impact on bullied girls than on boys to experience self-harm and suicidality: a mediation analysis

Islam, Md Irteja and Khanam, Rasheda ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1130-2357 and Kabir, Enamul ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6157-2753 (2022) Depression and anxiety have a larger impact on bullied girls than on boys to experience self-harm and suicidality: a mediation analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 297. pp. 250-258. ISSN 0165-0327


Abstract

Background
The mechanism underlying the correlation between bullying victimization, self-harm and suicidality by gender are not well understood. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate whether the mediating effect of mental disorder (depression and anxiety) on the association between bullying victimization, and self-harm and suicidality vary across boys and girls.

Methods
Overall, 2522 Australian adolescents aged 12–17-year-olds were analyzed from a nationally representative cross-sectional survey: Young Minds Matter. A series of logistic regressions were employed using Baron and Kenny's approach to test the mediating effect of each mental disorder on the relationship between bullying victimization, and self-harm and suicidality across gender. Further, the Sobel test was used to estimate the indirect effect.

Results
Out of 784 (31.1%) bullied victims, 53.2% were girls and 46.8% were boys. A higher proportion of girls compared to boys experienced depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidality (p < 0.001 for all). The relationships between bullying victimization, and self-harm and suicidality were mediated by depression (p < 0.05) in both boys and girls. While anxiety disorder mediated the association only in girls (p < 0.05).

Limitations
Cross-sectional study design does not imply causality. Self-reported data about self-harm and suicidality may be susceptible to social desirability bias.

Conclusion
Girls were more affected by bullying, self-harm and suicidality than boys. Depression mediated the correlation between bullying, and self-harm and suicidality in both boys and girls. While anxiety influenced only bullied girls to experience self-harm and suicidality. These findings warrant the need for gender-specific prevention programs to combat bullying and subsequently self-harm and suicidality in adolescents.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mathematics, Physics and Computing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mathematics, Physics and Computing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 00:22
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 05:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: bullying; depression; anxiety; self-harm; suicidality; adolescents
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200499 Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.061
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/44501

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