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J Health Econ. 2017 Dec;56:30-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.09.009. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Does cyberbullying impact youth suicidal behaviors?

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Department of Economics, Illinois State University, Stevenson Hall 425, Campus Box 4200, Normal, IL 61790-4200, United States. Electronic address:


Even though several youth fatal suicides have been linked with school victimization, there is lack of evidence on whether cyberbullying victimization causes students to adopt suicidal behaviors. To investigate this issue, I use exogenous state-year variation in cyberbullying laws and information on high school students from the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey within a bivariate probit framework, and complement these estimates with matching techniques. I find that cyberbullying has a strong impact on all suicidal behaviors: it increases suicidal thoughts by 14.5 percentage points and suicide attempts by 8.7 percentage points. Even if the focus is on statewide fatal suicide rates, cyberbullying still leads to significant increases in suicide mortality, with these effects being stronger for men than for women. Since cyberbullying laws have an effect on limiting cyberbullying, investing in cyberbullying-preventing strategies can improve individual health by decreasing suicide attempts, and increase the aggregate health stock by decreasing suicide rates.


Cyberbullying; Cyberbullying policy; Public health; Suicide

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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