TFSV & Suicide Risk

Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence & Suicide Risk: A Serial Mediation Model Investigating Bullying, Depression, Perceived Burdensomeness, and Thwarted Belongingness – Amanda Champion, Flora Oswald, & Cory L. Pedersen

Technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV) is a comprehensive term used to encompass all sexually aggressive and harassing behaviors involving technology. Although there is a growing knowledge base investigating the prevalence and consequences of TFSV, relatively little is known about the extent of aversive consequences experienced by victims and the pathways from victimization to suicidal affect, cognition, and behaviour. TFSV victimization and subsequent suicide has been a subject of several high-profile media cases in recent years. We examine TFSV in relation to two main constructs embedded within the interpersonal theory of suicide (ITS),  perceived burdensomeness (PB) and thwarted belongingness (TB). Quantitative survey data (N = 521) were used to evaluate PB and TB in the context of TFSV victimization. The objective was to analyze mechanisms underlying the relationship between TFSV victimization and suicide risk, exclusively accounting for mediating factors of interpersonal victimization, depression, TB, and PB. Pathway results showed that TFSV victimization increased suicide risk (i.e., suicidal affect, cognition, and behaviour) serially through bullying, depression, and PB – suggesting a cascade of victimization experiences. TB was not a significant mediator. The present results provide novel quantitative data substantiating the devastating risks of TFSV victimization and thus evidencing the importance of legal protections for victims of TFSV.

Article published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality