Additive Interactions Between Gender and Bullying Victimization on Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality: Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2011–2015

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Abstract

Background

Bullying victimization is common among adolescents and increases the likelihood of depressive symptoms and suicidality. Two previous meta-analyses have shown that these relationships do not significantly vary by gender.

Objectives

This research investigated whether there are significant positive additive interactions between bullying victimization and female gender on depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide attempts that required treatment.

Methods

For this research, analyses of pooled data from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (N = 44,632) were performed to estimate measures of additive interaction, as well as measures of multiplicative interaction in order to examine whether the relationship between bullying victimization and depressive symptoms or suicidality significantly varied by gender.

Results

Measures of additive interaction show that the magnitude of the relationship between bullying victimization and depressive symptoms or suicidality is significantly greater among female than male individuals. In contrast, measures of multiplicative interaction indicate that the magnitude of the relationship between bullying and depressive symptoms or suicidality is not significantly greater among female than male individuals.

Discussion

Measures of additive interaction are relevant for nursing and population health research. Future research should further explore how and why bullying victimization appears to more profoundly affect female individuals more than male individuals and how to mitigate it.

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