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Emerg Med (Fremantle). 2002 Mar;14(1):35-42.

Gender issues in youth suicidal behaviour.

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Canterbury Suicide Project, Christchurch School of Medicine, New Zealand.


There are gender differences in youth suicidal behaviour that are evident in childhood and persist throughout adolescence and young adulthood. In Western countries, young females are twice as likely as males to report suicidal ideation and suicide attempt behaviour. However, despite the fact that females make more suicide attempts, males are three- to fourfold more likely to die by suicide than females. This paper reviews the epidemiological evidence for gender differences in suicidal ideation, attempted suicide and completed suicide among young people and explores possible reasons for the observed differences. These reasons include differences in methods, intent, ascertainment, the cultural acceptability of suicide, psychopathology (including substance abuse, mood disorder, externalizing behaviours and propensity to violence), and psychosocial differences between males and females. While it is often suggested that gender differences in youth suicidal behaviour may be explained solely or predominantly by method choice, careful examination suggests that the issues are much more complex. In fact, females may enjoy more protection from suicide than males in a number of areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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