Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 469–472 | Cite as

Pediatric Emergency Department Visits for Mental Health Crisis: Prevalence of Cyber-Bullying in Suicidal Youth

  • Nasreen Roberts
  • Nicholas Axas
  • Robert Nesdole
  • Leanne Repetti


The objective of this work is to (1) study the prevalence of cyber-bullying amongst adolescents referred by Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) for urgent psychiatric assessment and (2) to examine the association between cyber-bullying and suicidal behavior to assist emergency department professionals in screening for risk and triage. This is a retrospective study of patients referred by PED to an urgent psychiatric clinic. Data was extracted for those with bullying victimization. Clinical variables included demographics, reason for referral, type of bullying, substance use, abuse, past psychiatric history, diagnosis and outcome. The cyber-bullying group was compared to those with traditional bullying and a group with no-bullying. Data analysis was conducted using Chi squares, multinomial and bimodal logistic regression. The urgent psychiatric clinic assessed 805 patients in 24 months, the prevalence of bullying was 26.9 % (n = 217). The prevalence of Cyber-bullying was 13.5 % (n = 109) and traditional bullying was 13.4 % (n = 108). Cyber-bullying victims have more suicidal ideation (χ² = 7.82, p = .005; 85.3  vs. 69.4 %), more sexual abuse (χ² = 5.75, p = .02; 29.4  vs. 15.7 %), more emotional abuse (χ² = 10.8, p = .01; 30.3  vs. 12.0 %) and physical abuse (χ² = 6.13, p = .01; 27.5  vs. 13.9 %) and a higher inpatient admission rate. Suicidal ideation is the presenting problem in more than two-thirds of patients, especially females, with history of cyber-bullying who present to the PED. Screening questions about cyber-bullying could assist emergency room professionals in establishing risk and making triage decisions.


Pediatric emergency At-risk youth Cyber-bullying Suicidal behavior Bullying Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nasreen Roberts
    • 1
  • Nicholas Axas
    • 2
  • Robert Nesdole
    • 3
  • Leanne Repetti
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Division of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Urgent Consult ClinicHotel Dieu HospitalKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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