Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Social Work

Advisor

Caroline Shanti PhD

Abstract

The suicide rate among children and teens has been rising over the last decade, and members of the LGBTQ youth population are at considerably greater risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ youth are also at heightened risk of being bullied due to sexual orientation. Recent technological advancements have created a new platform for bullying, that of cyberbullying, which can contribute to feelings of depression and low self-esteem. The detrimental impact that cyberbullying can have on mental health suggests the possibility of a potential connection between cyberbullying and LGBTQ youth suicide. This qualitative study examines the possible link between cyberbullying and LGBTQ youth suicide by conducting a content analysis of newspaper articles about LGBTQ youth suicide over the last ten years. A random sample of 47 national newspaper articles that fit the inclusion criteria of LGBTQ youth, suicide, and cyberbullying was compiled utilizing academic databases available via the researchers’ university library system and via a public search engine. Articles were coded by both researchers and, as categories and subcategories were identified, broader themes emerged that support the researchers’ question of whether there is a connection between cyberbullying and suicide among the LGBTQ youth population. These findings highlight the need for further examination, prevention, and intervention for this vulnerable population at both the policy and practice levels.

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