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Limited evidence that bullying behaviour in children may be linked to later suicidal behaviour

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Does bullying behaviour in childhood increase the risk of later suicide attempt or completed suicide in young adulthood?


5813 children who represented a selected sample of the Epidemiological Multicentre Child Psychiatric Study (which included all children born in Finland in 1981, n = 60 007) and were assessed at the age of 8 years. 91.2% of the sample (5,302) had follow-up information available at age 25 years.


School districts and municipalities of Finland.

Risk factors:

Bullying behaviour at the age of 8 years. Questionnaires were completed by the child at age 8 years, teachers and parents, and included questions on being a perpetrator of bullying or a victim of bullying. Bullying or victimisation were considered to exist even if reported by only one informant (child, parent or teacher). Confounders were childhood conduct problems (assessed using the Rutter parent questionnaire) and depression (assessed using the 27 item Children’s Depression Inventory).


Suicide attempts or completed suicide by age 25 years. Data from: Statistics Finland’s Cause of Death Registry (data up to 2005), The Finnish Hospital Discharge Register (all subjects admitted following suicide …

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  • Source of funding Sigrid Juselius Foundation and Paediatric Research Foundation, Finland.


  • Competing interests None.

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