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Additive Interactions Between Gender and Bullying Victimization on Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality: Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2011–2015

Pontes, Nancy M.H.; Ayres, Cynthia G.; Pontes, Manuel C.F.

doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000310
ORIGINAL ARTICLES

Background Bullying victimization is common among adolescents and increases the likelihood of depressive symptoms and suicidality. Two previous meta-analyses have shown that these relationships do not significantly vary by gender.

Objectives This research investigated whether there are significant positive additive interactions between bullying victimization and female gender on depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide attempts that required treatment.

Methods For this research, analyses of pooled data from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (N = 44,632) were performed to estimate measures of additive interaction, as well as measures of multiplicative interaction in order to examine whether the relationship between bullying victimization and depressive symptoms or suicidality significantly varied by gender.

Results Measures of additive interaction show that the magnitude of the relationship between bullying victimization and depressive symptoms or suicidality is significantly greater among female than male individuals. In contrast, measures of multiplicative interaction indicate that the magnitude of the relationship between bullying and depressive symptoms or suicidality is not significantly greater among female than male individuals.

Discussion Measures of additive interaction are relevant for nursing and population health research. Future research should further explore how and why bullying victimization appears to more profoundly affect female individuals more than male individuals and how to mitigate it.

Nancy M.H. Pontes, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FNAP, is Assistant Professor and Cynthia G. Ayres, PhD, RN, FNAP, is Associate Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Nursing-Camden.

Manuel C. F. Pontes, PhD, is Professor, Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey.

Accepted for publication May 16, 2018.

The first author was a participant in the 2017 NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat, sponsored by the Chamberlain College of Nursing Center for the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education.

This research study has institutional review board exemption because it is a secondary data analysis with no personal health identifiers.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Corresponding author: Nancy M. H. Pontes, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FNAP, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Nursing-Camden, 530 Federal Street, Suite 321, Camden, NJ 08102 (e-mail: nancy.pontes@rutgers.edu).

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