Bullying and Suicide Relation

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Bullying is any type of verbal, physical or psychological abuse upon someone which causes mental distress, social problems or physical pain. How common is it to hear this word from a 10 year old child in the course of a day at school? Bullying is a harmful practice that is pervasive from the elementary up to the university level of schooling (Morrison, 2002). Bullying behaviour is found throughout society, whether it be in at school, home, or even in the workplace (Elovainio, et al., 2003). Wherever the environment, the effects of such intimidation can lead to physical injury as well as mental and emotional stress (Hay, & Meldrum, 2010). Certain personality factors can make people more prone to being victimized by bullying. Being exposed to such abuse, victims can undergo drastic personality changes which according to recent studies, presents them with a greater risk of committing suicide. Bullying victims may suffer from depression, low self-esteem- and even physiological disorders such as heart disease (Elovainio, et al., 2003). Such a source of stress tends to greatly diminish the value victims place in their selves which can culminate in attempts against their own lives. Suicidal ideations stemming from bullying has been an intensely researched and debated topic, but the role of personality as a catalyst in such harmful actions has not been fundamentally addressed. My thesis states that Raymond Cattell’s Five-Factor Model of Personality can be used to predict which personality traits are predisposed to be victimized by bullying behaviour and also demonstrate how people with such personality traits may present a greater risk of suicide. The relation between suicide and bullying is not just an assumption but also a statistical fact. Dysfunctional, volatile relationships with family members can play a big role in increasing a bullying victims’ susceptibility to attempt suicide (Herba et al., 2008). Such volatility can result from hostility and rejection experienced at home and can give rise to victims who are slightly more prone to victimization from bullying than others. Familial psychopathology also has a direct link to increased suicide levels among bullying victims (Herba et al., 2008). Studies have linked a negative home environment and victimization by bullying to increased suicide ideation (Herba et al., 2008). Outside of the immediate home environment, social acceptance and relations with peers also plays a role in suicidal behaviour; an individual who displays personality traits that promotes social disengagement is more likely to consider suicide than someone who is socially-receptive (Herba et al., 2008). A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that many gay or lesbian students discriminated for their sexual orientation showed signs of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in latter life stages (Rivers, 2004). The detrimental physical and emotional effects of PTSD stemming from bullying behaviour are reasons identified in cases of completed and attempted suicide (Rivers, 2004). Depression is almost always co-morbid in such individuals and can manifest from the effects of rejection shown during bullying (Hay, & Meldrum, 2010). Biologically, people are more predisposed to suffer from depression than others, with studies recently demonstrating a link between genetics and an increased risk of being bully victims (Klomek et al., 2009). In Cattell’s language it would be that someone who scores high on the Neuroticism scale and low on the Extraversion scale as compared to peers would be much more prone to committing suicide. If we put in the social factors of bullying into the picture, such forces can very well lead to cases of clinical depression in victims (Klomek et al., 2009). People scoring higher on the Neuroticism scale find it hard to control their emotions and manage them. When faced with unstable interactions with peers as is the case in bullying, the insecurity such victims express leads to...
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