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Can J Psychiatry. 1998 Oct;43(8):816-22.

Attempted suicide among Inuit youth: psychosocial correlates and implications for prevention.

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Department of Psychiatry, Sir Mortimer B Davis-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec.



To identify potential risk and protective factors associated with attempted suicide among Inuit youth, a population known to have a high rate of both attempted and completed suicide in recent years.


A secondary analysis of data on 203 Inuit youth (aged 15 to 24 years) from a random community survey conducted by Santé Québec in 1992. Factors previously identified in the literature and in clinical consultation and ethnographic research were tested with bivariate statistics and logistic regression models for each gender.


At the bivariate level, positive correlates included substance use (solvents, cannabis, cocaine), recent alcohol abuse, evidence of a psychiatric problem, and a greater number of life events in the last year. Regular church attendance was negatively associated with attempted suicide. Multivariate analysis indicated that a psychiatric problem, recent alcohol abuse, and cocaine or crack use were the strongest correlates of attempted suicide for females, while solvent use and number of recent life events were the strongest correlates for males.


Suicide prevention programs can be targeted at youth who are using substances, particularly solvents, cocaine, and alcohol, have psychiatric illness, and have experienced recent negative life events. Involvement in church or other community activities may reduce the risk for suicide. Consideration of gender differences may allow more precise identification of those at risk for attempted suicide.

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