AIM: To use the available literature to identify the causes of suicide among indigenous adolescents. METHOD: The PRECEDE model provided a framework to organize the material and identify the areas where relatively little research had been reported. RESULTS: The epidemiological diagnosis showed that suicide was greater in indigenous than non-indigenous populations and particularly high among adolescent males. Environments of native persons are characterized by remoteness, poverty, cultural displacement, and family disintegration. The educational and organizational diagnosis identified predisposing factors reflecting the social environments previously identified, the enabling factors of televised suicides, and firearm and alcohol availability, in conjunction with an absence of positive expectations. Finally the administrative and policy diagnosis identified a piecemeal, short term perspective, often lacking cultural sensitivity. Although there was more literature from the United States than from Canada, Australia or New Zealand, the pictures emerging were consistent, with problems being identified across continents. Literature was more abundant in relation to the epidemiological, environmental, and educational/ organizational diagnoses than in relation to policy and administration. CONCLUSION: The increased suicide rates among indigenous adolescents were not a product of their native origins, but of the social milieu in which these people generally found themselves.
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