Spring 2010 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACADEMIC CENTER OF EXCELLENCE ON YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE
YOUTH SUICIDE by Michiko Otsuki, Tia Kim, and Paul Peterson
Introduction Youth suicide is a major public health problem in the United States today. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of death for 5-14 year olds. (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention [AFSP], 2010; National Center for Health Statistics [NCHS],2006) The reduction of adolescent suicide is one of the major objectives of the Healthy People 2010 Initiative (Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Scope
…show more content…
Suicide contagion Exposure to suicide increases the likelihood of suicide. For example, the number of suicides goes us following the appearance of suicide stories in the mass media, including newspaper articles, television news reports, and fictional and non-fictional dramatization (Gould, 2001). The influence of suicide stories is greatest among adolescents (Phillips & Carstensen, 1986) and is diminished greatly after the age of 24 (Gould, Wallenstein, & Kleinman, 1990). Family history Several family factors are associated with an increased likelihood of youth suicide: poor family relationships (King, O’Mara, Hayward, & Cunningham, 2009), a family history of suicidal behaviors (Gould et al., 1996), obligation to the family (Zayas, Bright, AlvarezSanchez & Cabassa, 2009), and parental psychopathology namely, depression and substance abuse (Fergusson & Lynskey, 1995). Some research also points to genetic factors to explain the link between parental characteristics and youth suicide (Schulsinger, 1980).
Socioeconomic status Little is known about the association between socioeconomic status and youth suicide. Low socioeconomic status may increase suicide risk if it is associated with barriers to mental health treatment, given that untreated depression and substance abuse disorders are major causes of adolescent suicide. Immigrant experience Among Latinos, being born in the United States is associated