Suicidality, internalizing problems and externalizing problems among adolescent bullies, victims and bully-victims

Erin V. Kelly*, Nicola C. Newton, Lexine A. Stapinski, Tim Slade, Emma L. Barrett, Patricia J. Conrod, Maree Teesson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of this study is to compare suicidality, internalizing problems and externalizing problems among adolescent victims, bullies and bully-victims. Method: This study examined bullying involvement among a subset of the baseline sample of the Climate and Preventure study, a trial of a comprehensive substance use prevention intervention for adolescents in 2012. The sample included 1588 Year 7-9 students in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Results: Victims, bullies and bully-victims had more problems than uninvolved students. Students with internalizing problems were more likely to be a victim than a bully. Some externalizing problems (alcohol and tobacco use) were associated with increased odds of being a bully, but not others (cannabis use and conduct/hyperactivity symptoms). Suicidal ideation, internalizing problems and some externalizing problems increased the odds of being a bully-victim compared to being a bully or a victim. Conclusion: Early intervention for adolescents frequently involved in bullying may reduce the onset of substance use and other mental disorders. It would be advisable for bullying interventions to include a focus on substance use and mental health problems. A reduction in these chronic and detrimental problems among adolescents could potentially lead to a concomitant reduction in bullying involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Bullies
  • Bully-victims
  • Bullying
  • Externalizing problems
  • Internalizing problems
  • Suicidality
  • Victims


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