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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 207–211 | Cite as

Suicidal Behaviours Among Adolescents in Northern Nova Scotia

Gender Difference, Risk Factors and Health Service Utilization
  • JianLi Wang
  • Jean Hughes
  • Gail Tomblin Murphy
  • Janet A. Rigby
  • Donald B. Langille
Article

Abstract

Objectives: To estimate the 12-month prevalence of suicidal behaviours by gender and to investigate the gender-specific factors associated with suicidal behaviours and to describe health service utilization by suicidal adolescents.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. The baseline data of the Adolescent Health Study conducted in northern Nova Scotia were used.

Results: Female students were more likely to report suicidal behaviours than male students (p<0.005). There was no gender difference in injurious suicide attempts. Depression was the strongest risk factor for suicidal behaviours in the two genders (p<0.005). Female students who reported drug use and living in a non-intact family were at higher risk of suicide attempts. Low self-esteem was positively associated with suicidal ideation and suicide planning among male students. Suicidal girls were more likely to seek professional help for emotional disturbance than boys. Family doctors were the most frequently contacted professional by suicidal adolescents.

Conclusions: Some factors associated with suicidal behaviours among adolescents may be gender specific. Suicidal behaviours have been considered a depressive symptom. Most suicidal students, however, had not contacted a health professional for an emotional problem in this population. This presents challenges for prevention of suicidal behaviours among adolescents.

Résumé

Objectifs: Estimer la prévalence sur 12 mois des comportements suicidaires selon le sexe, étudier les facteurs propres à chaque sexe associés à ces comportements et décrire l’utilisation des services de santé par les adolescents suicidaires.

Méthode: Étude transversale fondée sur les données de référence d’une étude sur la santé des adolescents menée dans le nord de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Résultats: Les élèves de sexe féminin étaient plus susceptibles que les élèves de sexe masculin de mentionner des comportements suicidaires (p<0,005). Il n’y avait aucune différence entre les sexes dans le nombre de tentatives de suicide avec blessures. La dépression était le principal facteur de risque de comportement suicidaire chez les deux sexes (p<0,005). Les filles qui disaient consommer des drogues et vivre dans une famille dissociée couraient un risque plus élevé de commettre des tentatives de suicide. La faible estime de soi était positivement associée aux idées suicidaires et aux projets de suicide chez les garçons. Les filles suicidaires étaient plus susceptibles que les garçons de chercher de l’aide professionnelle pour leurs troubles affectifs. Les médecins de famille étaient les professionnels les plus souvent contactés par les adolescents suicidaires.

Conclusions: Certains facteurs associés aux comportements suicidaires chez les adolescents peuvent être propres à l’un ou l’autre sexe. On considère les comportements suicidaires comme un symptôme de dépression. Dans la population à l’étude, cependant, la plupart des élèves suicidaires n’avaient pas contacté un professionnel de la santé en réponse à un problème affectif. Ceci présente un défi pour la prévention des comportements suicidaires chez les adolescents.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • JianLi Wang
    • 1
  • Jean Hughes
    • 2
  • Gail Tomblin Murphy
    • 2
  • Janet A. Rigby
    • 3
  • Donald B. Langille
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry & Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.School of NursingDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  3. 3.Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, Faculty of MedicineDalhousie UniversityCanada

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