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Childhood Bullying and Adulthood Suicide Connection Essay

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Introduction

Currently, the society experiences an array of problems that continue to induce pain and suffering and in adverse cases, to the demise of a considerable number of individuals. For this reason, the necessity of delving into an inquiry to unearth the causes of various challenges gains vitality. Therefore, solving the issue through a process that is systematic becomes essential for the realization of suitable remedies for a particular issue. One of the menaces that unceasingly worry the modern world is the issue of an upsurge of suicide cases perceived to emanate from bullying events (Levasseur, Kelvin, & Grosskopf, 2013).

Furthermore, in the US, suicide ranks as the number 10 cause of mortality, thus necessitating efforts towards the identification of its causes for prevention and mitigation purposes that would foster the management of the grave problem. In this light, finding the appropriate answers to curb the undesirable trend gains strength since it is an issue of public interest concerning the multifaceted aspects of the modern world. Thus, this paper purposes of proposing for the execution of a research work that would explore the link between bullying and suicidality later in adulthood in the US.

Problem Statement

The issue of bullying has frequently occurred in neighborhoods and educational settings over an extensive period spanning over decades, making it a malignant subject of concern. Bullying could be described as a situation that involves undesirable and aggressive behavior that could also encompass perceived or observed power disequilibrium depicted by a high probability of repeating the behavior. The intimidation occurs directly or indirectly through a range of categories that could include relational, verbal, and physical bullying.

In this regard, the seriousness of the issue is depicted in research results that indicate that at least 50% of children and youth in the US have experienced bullying situations as either bullies or victims of the behavior. Additionally, the alarming cases of bullying in schools and on the online platforms were projected at 19.6% and 14.8%, respectively (Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013). Consequently, in most cases, the victims of bullying experience problems like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and poor academic performance. Besides, unhealthy behaviors like substance abuse and violence could also manifest as outcomes of intimidating experiences. In adverse situations, the bullying issue has been linked to suicide attempts among the victims, thus raising concerns over the seriousness of its implications.

Reports indicate that suicide is the third cause for deaths among children in the 8-12 years age bracket, accounting for 4,400 annual deaths in the US (Hepburn, Azrael, Molnar, & Miller, 2012). Furthermore, 14% of the young individuals have reportedly contemplated suicide, while 7% of the young population has attempted suicide (Borowsky, Taliaferro & McMorris, 2013). Regarding the issue of increased bullying reports, it was unearthed that victims of intimidation and aggressiveness in various neighborhoods and schools are between 2 and 9 times likelier to engage in suicidality behavior as compared to those not bullied.

The subject of bullying-induced suicide not only affects American society but also transcends to other global regions like Europe. In Britain, at least 50% of the suicides among the youth have been associated with bullying. In this respect, the statistics show that the problem is prevalent in diverse settings, thus continually puts young people at the risk of unsuccessfully transitioning to adulthood. Besides, girls between the age of 10 and 14 years in Britain experience a heightened risk of being bullied by their older fellows, especially as they undergo puberty. Moreover, most of the bullying-triggered suicides occur among adults due to the adverse traumatic bullying experiences during their childhood (Copeland et al., 2013).

Given that 30 percent of school-going children and the youth bully others or they are bullied, the third-ranked cause of death among the young people, suicide, could claim more lives if measures that purpose to mitigate the problematic situation lack formulation and implementation. In this light, the study would foster the analysis of the perceived cause, which is bullying, concerning the heightened cases of suicidality among the youth regardless of their gender.

Purpose of the Study

The drive of the study emanates from the need to explore and identify the association between childhood bullying and suicide instances either depicted during childhood or adulthood. Therefore, identifying the connection would require the identification, examination, and evaluation of the causes and results of bullying by drawing manifestations from suicidal behavior portrayed by the victims of bullying (Copeland et al., 2013). In so doing, the study would justify that indeed, childhood bullying accounts for a considerable proportion of suicide cases among adults in the US.

Thus, an exploration of the association would adopt a qualitative research approach that would guide the data collection and analysis process. Applying the quantitative methodology in unknotting the connection would employ data collection techniques that maximize the usefulness of interviews. A sample population would be drawn from elementary and high school students who have experienced bullying as either victims or bullies. The suitability of conducting the data collection endeavors through interviews is crucial since it fosters gathering of first-hand information, and it further bolsters applicability to the problem since it is a social issue concerned with aggressiveness and intimidation.

Research Questions

The following two research questions would lay the basis for the proposed study.

  • Is there any relationship between gender and becoming a bullying victim concerning the menace of suicidal behaviors?
  • Is there a link between bullying and suicidal conduct, for example, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation among adolescents in the US?

Methodology

The inquiry, as stated earlier, would employ a qualitative research design that would seek to acquire data from a sample of elementary and high school human children and young adults in the US. The choice of a qualitative research methodology derives its consideration and prioritization from the several merits of embracing qualitative inquiry techniques. Qualitative research would allow bullying victims to give their responses to the interviews according to their understanding of the meaning of bullying.

Furthermore, the approach would foster the exploration and description of the complex aspects of bullying and suicide. Essentially, the proposed method would facilitate the acquirement of information based on individual cases that would additionally gain usefulness by comparing different cases and analyses. Additionally, the study methodology would enhance the description of the subject in rich detail, thus improving the comprehensiveness of the study concerning the collection of both data on historical and present developments (Klomek et al., 2013).

Research Design

Specifically, the study methodology would consider a qualitative approach that aims at reviewing the previous efforts that sought the identification of the tie between bullying and suicidality. In this case, the research design that upholds a historical approach would enhance the assessment of the past insights on the matter by integrating them with the current developments and the expected future consequences (Klomek et al., 2013). Therefore, the collected data would facilitate the interpretation of past events regarding bullying and assist in the prediction of future occurrences.

The interviews would supplement the secondary sources of information, including articles to synthesize the gathered information in a manner that would improve data analysis and interpretation of the inferences. Additionally, the design would assist in maintaining the researcher’s objectivity since the past events, and study results would diminish the possibility of approaching the issue from a subjective approach (Copeland et al., 2013).

Administering the interviews with the children and youth who previously experienced the effects of bullying would also improve the provision of evidence regarding the current issue and its trend. Thus, the qualitative historical methods would positively contribute to the researcher’s ability to make sound decisions since the past events enhance their anticipation of future trends about the problem.

Data Collection

Population Overview and Sampling

The sample population for the proposed study constitutes children between the age of 9 and 18 years. Particularly, the sample would be obtained from a cross-section of young people attending their elementary and high school education. A sample group of at least 1100 students would be considered for the study to achieve a considerable population that would depict the trend in society in general. The exercise would involve carrying out the study in the naturalistic educational setting to reach the participants conveniently for feedback. Additionally, the study population would factor the aspect of diversity by considering a sample representation that is drawn from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, the sample would incorporate the gender aspect since the study also seeks to gain an understanding regarding the issue of bullying among boys and girls within the 9 and 18 years age bracket.

Selecting the sample population would involve the execution of the stratified sampling technique that ensures representativeness of the participants. The selection criteria would consider two provisions. Firstly, the respondents must be 9 to 19 years old. Secondly, the respondents must be bullies or victims of bullying. In this case, the potential interviewees would be split in groups according to their age and gender thus forming the strata. Afterward, the researcher would engage the specific categorizations in a simple random selection approach to uphold representativeness of the study to foster the validity and reliability of the findings. Moreover, employing the stratified sampling technique would ensure that the data collection course involves homogeneous participants regarding their age and gender to boost the effectiveness of the data analysis process by providing precise estimates.

Data Collection Instruments

The instruments for data collection would incorporate structured and open-ended interviews that seek to acquire adequate information regarding suicidal tendencies arising from bullying experiences. Importantly, the interviews would inquire about the frequency at which the thoughts of engaging in suicide develop after being bullied (Copeland et al., 2013). For gaining substantial insights, the administration of the interviews would consider both parents and individuals between 9 and 18 years old.

The data collection process should ensure the observation of the compliance and safety provisions by seeking authorization from the relevant authorities associated with such research endeavors (Meurer et al., 2007). Additionally, since the respondents in schools are minors and thus unable to make competent decisions independently, the consent of their parents or caregivers would be sought to ensure that the process upholds the ethical issues of research.

Since the research design considers a historical qualitative research approach, the interviews would seek the synthesis of past events and current experiences to predict the future outcomes. In this respect, the interview questions would inquire about the historical attempts of suicide for assessment. Besides, the collection of data through the interviews would ensure that it covers the lifetime suicide efforts among the children, the intervention initiatives, and the coping mechanisms (Klomek et al., 2013). In this light, situations that portray escalation of the bullying effects to suicidality would necessitate informing the parent or caregiver about the child’s situation that prompts clinical attention to prevent adverse outcomes. Interview instruments like Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA) would be integrated into the study to enhance the historical data acquisition activities. Moreover, the data collection endeavor upholds confidentiality to ensure that the information acquired does not find its way to unauthorized persons (Bauman, Toomey, & Walker, 2013).

Overview of the data collection and challenges envisioned

The data collection phase of the research endeavor is critical for determining its success. Thus, the employment of the appropriate instruments in with utmost effectiveness is crucial for attaining in-depth and accurate results. The sampling technique ensures harmonious classification of the respondents in a way that it improves the data analysis aspect of the inquiry besides enhancing a systematic approach to the study. Integrating both the parents and caregivers together with the children and youth would foster a multifaceted approach to the collection of data hence resulting in an array of useful information regarding the subject of interest in the study. Furthermore, considering only the reported cases of suicide would guarantee the authenticity of the data collected thus boosting the reliability and validity features of the study.

Additionally, the engagement of the YAPA instrument would put the endeavor into perspective since the historical and lifetime aspects of suicide attempts would be captured to validate the connection between bullying and suicidality (Klomek et al., 2013). The YAPA technique would additionally facilitate the analysis of past or current bullying experiences among children and young adults on the likelihood that they could consider suicide in adulthood. Therefore, the technique supports the research questions for this study. Besides collecting data, the interviews would boost the screening aspect of the problem since children that have been severely affected by bullying would acquire clinical intervention to mitigate the possibility committing suicide. Therefore, the exercise would also analyze the degree to which the problem is affecting young people in their neighborhoods and schools.

Carrying out the data collection exercise in the school setting would enhance the efficacy of the process since the environment constitutes a large percentage of the reported cases of bullying unlike in the neighborhood setting. Furthermore, seeking the consent of the parents or caregivers before administering the interviews would ensure that the decisions and responses made by the young individuals would not encourage coercion but approval from the participants and thus, yield unbiased results.

The interviews ensure that the participants respond to the issue according to their understanding of the meaning and its importance in a way that is candid and relaxed. The instrument also provides high face validity and credibility of the responses, as the researcher would employ intuitiveness to assess the feedback. The interviews also facilitate the possibility of the researcher to probe for additional details by ensuring that the participants’ correct interpretation of the interview questions (Hennink, Hutter, & Bailey, 2010).

Several challenges are likely to face the data collection endeavor. The process welcomes intrusiveness, which may trigger the lack of cooperation from the respondents after they regretfully provide certain information. The technique may also lead to the reaction to interpersonal dynamics, moods, and personalities between the researcher and the respondent thus inhibiting a smooth data collection process. Since administering interviews is time-consuming and it requires relevant skills and experience, the possibility of data distortion is high. Moreover, the approach attracts subjectivity, by this means, resulting in a biased and prejudiced interpretation of the inferences. Besides, issues of absenteeism, refusal to engage in the exercise, and dropping out of school could also higher the success of the data collection endeavor.

Data Analysis

The analysis of the data collected is essential for evaluating the linkage between the bullying and adulthood suicide. In this regard, the data analysis aspect is essential for making a sound interpretation of the link regarding the issue at hand. The initial step would involve coding and description of data whereby an account of the factored case is provided. The conceptualization and the categorization of data would then follow in the analysis process (Hennink et al., 2010). The classification would involve sorting out the data based on the unique strata aspects of the sample population that include the parents or guardians, the bullies, and the bullying victims.

The different themes would also be classified to derive inferences based on a particular feature of the problem under study. Connecting thematic and interrelated data would ensure the analysis of data attains rigor thus enhancing the reliability and validity of the findings. Therefore, the creation of general, abstract classifications from the collected data, and the identification of the meaning of the investigated phenomenon are important aspect (Meurer et al., 2007).

After the linking the gathered information thematically, the analysis endeavor would proceed to the interpretation of the identified relationships (Hennink et al., 2010). Hence, if past bullying experiences resulted in the development of suicidal thoughts and attempts in future, then the linkage between the two elements would attain validation. The development of accounts that explain the identified association of variables would facilitate the communication of the results in a precise manner that ensures clear understanding. Thus, the meaning of the identified trend would be communicated to the interested parties to take necessary action.

Reliability and Validity

For the attainment of rigor and trustworthiness, reliability and validity of the findings in a particular research should be considered. Thus, the utility of the inquiry is attained through the integration of strategies that ensure the reliability and validity of the research outcomes (Amitai & Apter, 2012). Reliability entails the extent to which the outcomes of the study are steady over time and accurately represent the entire population under investigation. The reproduction of similar results under the same methodology depicts the reliability of the instruments employed. Validity focuses on whether the study sticks on the research objectives by measuring what it was intended to measure.

Amitai and Apter (2012) argue that fostering reliability in the qualitative research requires the assessment of trustworthiness. Besides, the data collection process would consider a systematic and transparent approach to ensure accuracy and objectivity. Additionally, the data collection phase would uphold the maintenance of an audit trail that precisely documents the flow of information. Moreover, testing the reliability of the findings would invite other researchers to collect the data, and carry out the analysis.

Ensuring validity could adopt an approach whereby the researcher organizes a focus group comprising of other researchers or clinicians who would assess whether the data collected represents the intended objective.

Limitations

The study would undoubtedly face several, limitations that require consideration for a successful study. One of the constraints includes the likelihood of not interviewing all the subjects for the collection of adequate data would limit the comprehensiveness of the data concerning the analysis aspect. Thus, issues like absenteeism, dropout of bullies and the victims, and lack of cooperation from the subjects would hinder the exploration of the link between the said aspects.

Additionally, the subject concentrates on interviewing students in the school setting thus leaving out subjects from the community environment since the vice also occurs in the neighborhoods and streets. In this light, the results of the study would lack inclusiveness of the cases occurring outside the educational setting since such events may have different long-term effects (Copeland et al., 2013).

Besides, the overall evaluation of the bullying issue would lack the accuracy of distinguishing relational bullying from relational bullying. Thus, the gender aspect of the analysis would lack adequate assessment since the bullying implications on males and females manifest differently.

Moreover, the inquiry facilitates the provision of general information regarding suicidality but it does not consider the unique behaviors like suicide attempts, isolation, depression, and self-injury.

Ethical Considerations

Several ethical considerations are equally important to ensure the upholding of the moral aspects of conducting a systematic study. Therefore, issues like confidentiality, trustworthiness, beneficence, respect, informed consent, and justice require observation to secure an ethical approach to the study (Bauman et al., 2013).

Confidentiality

Legal provisions stipulate that the information acquired from human subjects should be handled with confidentiality. This aspect implies that the information should only be accessible to the relevant individuals or parties associated with the issue at hand for purposes of examination and evaluation (Hennink et al., 2010). However, a court of law may renounce the confidentiality aspect resulting in a compromise of the ethical consideration due to specific and valid reasons. For instance, the information regarding a human subject that is likely to engage in suicide could be disclosed to the parent and clinician for intervention purposes.

Trustworthiness

Approval of all the researchers and respondents is a matter of significance to the study since it safeguards honesty, fidelity, and reliability. Thus, before the commencement of the research, approval from the relevant review bodies would be prioritized to ensure trustworthiness of the research endeavor (Amitai & Apter, 2012). Besides, the respondents would be educated about the purpose of the study and the assurance that their confidentiality would be fostered.

Informed consent

The medical code of conduct expects all researchers to secure informed consent from the stakeholders before engaging them in the research (Espelage & Holt, 2013). In this case, the participants should not be engaged in the study coercively. Since the minors in the study do not have the capability of engaging in binding agreements with the researcher, their consent might be disregarded. Additionally, challenges in securing the response of parents pertaining issues involving their children’s bullying conduct might limit the study.

References

Amitai, M., & Apter, A. (2012). Social aspects of suicidal behavior and prevention in early life: A review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(2), 985-994.

Bauman, S., Toomey, R., & Walker, J. (2013). Associations among bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide in high school students. Journal of Adolescence, 36(2), 351-350.

Borowsky, I., Taliaferro, L., & McMorris, B. (2013). Suicidal thinking and behavior among youth involved in verbal and social bullying: Risk and protective factors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), 4-12.

Copeland, W., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, J. (2013). Adult psychiatric outcomes of bullying and being bullied by peers in childhood and adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry, 70(4), 419-426.

Espelage, D., & Holt, M. (2013). Suicidal ideation and school bullying experiences after controlling for depression and delinquency. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), 27-31.

Hennink, M., Hutter, I., & Bailey, A. (2010). Qualitative research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hepburn, L., Azrael, D., Molnar, B., & Miller, M. (2012). Bullying and suicidal behaviors among urban high school youth. Journal of Adolescence Health, 51(1), 93–5.

Klomek, A., Kleinman, M., Altschuler, E., Marrocco, F., Amakawa, L., & Gould, M. (2013). Suicidal adolescents’ experiences with bullying perpetration and victimization during high school as risk factors for later depression and suicidality. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), 37-42.

Levasseur, M., Kelvin, E., & Grosskopf, N. (2013). Intersecting identities and the association between bullying and suicide attempt among New York City youths: results from the 2009 New York City youth risk behavior survey. American Journal of Public Health, 103(6), 1082–109.

Meurer, W., Frederiksen, M., Majersik, J., Zhang, L., Sandretto, A., & Scott, P. (2007). Qualitative data collection and analysis methods: the INSTINCT trial. Academic Emergency Medicine, 14(11), 1064-1071.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Childhood Bullying and Adulthood Suicide Connection." June 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-bullying-and-adulthood-suicide-connection/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Childhood Bullying and Adulthood Suicide Connection'. 30 June.

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