Trends in adolescent online and offline victimization and suicide risk factors

Noah T. Kreski, Qixuan Chen, Mark Olfson, Magdalena Cerdá, Deborah Hasin, Silvia S. Martins, Pia M. Mauro, Katherine M. Keyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Suicidal ideation and plans are increasing among US adolescents. Changing prevalence of online victimization is frequently hypothesized as an explanation for this increase. We tested trends in online and offline victimization and whether they contribute to recent trends in adolescent suicidal outcomes. METHODS: Youth Risk Behavior Survey data (2011–2019, N 5 73 074) were collected biennially through national cross-sectional surveys of US school-attending adolescents. We examined trends in past-year victimization. We also examined whether the relationship between victimization and past-year suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and injury changed over time using survey-weighted logistic regressions that adjusted for sex and race and ethnicity. We also sex-stratified results to examine sex differences. RESULTS: Although suicidal ideation and plans increased among US adolescents (mainly girls), online and offline victimization prevalence did not increase over time (offline: 20.0% in 2011, 19.5% in 2019; online: 16.2% in 2011, 15.7% in 2019). Online and offline victimization were associated with suicidal outcomes, especially co-occurring online and offline victimization (eg, adjusted odds ratio [co-occurring online and offline victimization versus none, outcome: suicidal injury] 5 8.37; 95% confidence interval: 7.06–9.91). The magnitude of the associations between victimization and suicidal outcomes largely remained stable over time. CONCLUSION: Peer victimization prevalence has not sufficiently changed over time in concert with suicidal outcomes to explain increased suicidal outcomes. The prevalence of victimization has remained relatively invariant across time despite growing awareness and programming, making online and offline victimization consistent, socially-patterned risk factors that warrant further monitoring and interventions. Research must examine risk factors beyond victimization to explain increasing suicidal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020049585
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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