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Bullying and Suicide

Bullyingand Suicide

Thearticle “Teenstaunted by bullies are more likely to consider, attempt suicide”by Karen Kaplan is published in the LosAngeles Times.It mainly focuses on the relationship between bullying among teensand suicide rates in the same group. The prevalence of bullying hasbeen increasing tremendously in the contemporary human society. Thisis especially in the case of teens in high school. Even more worryinghas been the connection between bullying and suicide rates amongteens. Scholars have noted that bullying increases the rates at whichteens are likely to undertake or even consider committing suicide(Kaplan 5). Of particular note is the fact that there are variationsbetween the rates of influence of the varied types of bullying. Cyberbullying has especially been found to highly influence teens tocommit suicide with researchers noting that this may have resultedfrom the fact that the victims of such bullying would feel that theyhave been denigrated in front of a larger audience, not to mentionthat the material may be stored online thereby causing the victims tooften relive the harsh experience (Kaplan 13). Similarly, individualswho have been on both sides of the spectrum (victims andperpetrators) often have higher probability for committing suicidethan individuals who have never had anything to do with bullying.


EmileDurkheim would explain the increase in teenage suicide rates ashaving been caused by two factors. As much as he may not explainbullying, the two types of suicide in teens may explain theconnection between the two phenomena. First, there is the altruisticsuicide, which mainly occurs in cases where people are highlyintegrated to society thereby causing them to lose any resistancethey may have to kill themselves (Durkheim 22). In teens, peer groupsmake a highly integrated society when every teenager is indistinctfrom others. This results in loss of individuality, thereby reducingthe personal worth or value of an individual outside the group. Inessence, weaker members may start feeling unwanted and unimportant,thereby resulting in suicidal tendencies (Durkheim 22). In this case,bullying comes with feelings of being unwanted in a particular group,which eats into an individual’s personal worth causing suicidaltendencies.

Second,there is the anomic suicide, which results from low control orregulation by society. This type of suicide is most commonly cased byserious adjustments in a teenager’s social order, incapacity tomeet the needs of an individual, deficiency of care and compassionfrom fellow humans, deficiency of goals or even setting goals toohigh, fast modification in social groups and persistent modificationsin the society, as well as the feelings of being trapped in dead-endlife (Durkheim 34). In this case, bullying comes with deficiency ofcompassion and care, not to mention the fact that it may cause anindividual to feel that he or she is trapped in dead-end lifeespecially when cyber bullying is concerned.


Asmuch as Emile has done an incredible job in explaining the thingsthat may cause individuals especially teens to have suicidaltendencies, his theory or analysis seems to be lacking in quite anumber of fronts. First, the theory does not explain why individualsin the same peer group and with relatively the same level ofimportance are quite likely to have varying degrees of suicidaltendencies. Why exactly would individuals react differently to thesame situations? Similarly, peer groups are examined as the mostimportant social groups for a large number of teens. What role dothey play in counteracting the positive effects of family support?This, however, does not undermine the utility and comprehensivenessof Emile’s theory.


Durkheim,Emile. Suicide:A Study in Sociology&nbsp.Trans. John Spaulding andGeorge Simpson. Glencoe, Illinois: FreePress, 1952. Print

Kaplan,Karen. Teens taunted by bullies are more likely to consider, attemptsuicide. Los Angeles Times, 2014, web accessed 10thApril 2014http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/10/science/la-sci-sn-bullying-cyberbullying-suicide-risk-20140310