Peer Victimization and Adolescent Suicide: The Mediating Effect of Risk Behaviors
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This study explored the impact of three risk behaviors (risky sexual behaviors, aggression, and substance use) on the peer victimization–suicide relationship. A hypothesized model was developed using an integrated conceptual model based on social cognitive theory and escape theory of suicide. This model was then tested using structural equation modeling. The participants were 7,656 males (49.8 %) and 7,708 females (50.2 %) from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey ranged in age from 12 years or less to over 18 years (mean = 16.1 years, SD = 1.24). Results demonstrated that peer victimization has a significant direct effect on suicidal behavior. Aggression, and substance use, but not risky sexual behavior, mediated the risk of suicide. Also, substance use has a significant direct effect on aggression that affects suicidal behavior. Findings were discussed within the context of the empirical and theoretical review and implications for social work practice were considered.
KeywordsPeer victimization Suicide Risky sexual behavior Aggression Substance use
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