In a paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the researchers found children who are both victims and bullies ('bully-victims'), are at highly increased risk of considering suicide, or have planned and engaged in suicidal or self-harming behavior by 11-12 years of age. These increased odds were not explained by other factors family circumstances or pre-existing emotional problems.
The study used information collected from parents and teachers, as well as children, to see how common bullying or victim behavior was.
They found that, compared to children who were never bullied, 'bully-victims' were three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts, and that those who were bullied over a long period of time were six times more likely to consider suicide.
Those who bully others but never become victims (pure bullies) were also at increased risk for suicide thoughts and suicidal or self-harming behaviour but the findings were not as consistent.