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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Kral


As an individual grows up, getting along with others becomes crucial. As time goes by, many seek the approval of their peers. By the time individuals reach high school, many have found their own clique they feel they belong in. Those that do not have these perceived social supports may find themselves ostracized and alienated from their peers. Such a situation can make one vulnerable to bullying victimization. This may be the case as bullying takes the forefront during these years. This can cause a multitiude of issues, including potential onset of mental illness, such as depression. Those adolescents who are suffering from depression are more likely to experience suicidal ideation. According to the Center for Disease Control (2020), suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents. However, suicide is still not fully understood in society. In recent years, a more critical study of suicide has brought up new theories of suicidology, such as the concept of social suicide. Social suicide looks at the social factors that may lead one to dying by suicide, as opposed to a history of mental illness. Understanding how adolescents are able to overcome bullying is equally important to preventing suicide. Examining the retrospective experiences of bullying and suicidal ideation that university students experienced can provide insight. University students, now adults, may be able to provide more insight into their experiences that allowed them to become resilient and avoid suicide when experiencing bullying victimization. Idenitfying their perceptions of hopelessness, depression, self-esteem, implications may be found for a better comprehension of the relationship between suicide and bullying. Establishing what factors helped university students remain resilient while being bullied in youth may prove to better influence future understanding and intervention efforts. All of these factors are crucial to social workers. Social work is a field uniquely designed insofar as it encompasses the entire person. Looking at individual, familial, societal, and biological factors allows for a thorough examination of factors that may lead one to suicide. Future studies should be able to examine multiple societal factors as opposed to focusing on the medical model in regards to suicidology.

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