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By On October 27th, 2008

Youths in thier late teens from poor neighborhoods are four times more likely to commit suicide

According to a study conducted at Canada’s Université de Montréal and Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, youths in their late teens from poor neighborhoods are four times more likely to commit suicide than those who are from more affluent neighborhoods. According to the study, in addition to higher risk for suicide, late teens from poor neighborhoods are also twice as likely to report suicidal thoughts and had higher levels of depressive symptoms. The researchers were not sure what the contributing factors were for increased suicide risk in this population. However, Véronique Dupéré, lead author and a post-doctoral fellow at Tufts University who completed the research at the Université de Montréal, surmised that, “They were more vulnerable because difficult events, such as personally knowing someone who has committed suicide or experiencing a painful breakup with a romantic partner, apparently led to increased suicidal thoughts or attempts… In other words, difficult events seemed to have a more dramatic impact on these teenagers.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that discusses the study more:

For this study, 2779 teens were surveyed as part of Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Poverty levels in the neighbourhood were measured in early and mid adolescence based on Census data. Suicidal thoughts and attempts were assessed later, when participants were 18 or 19 years old. Participants were asked, “During the past 12 months, did you seriously consider attempting suicide?” Those who responded yes were then asked, “During the past 12 months how many times did you attempt suicide?”

Among teenagers from across all socioeconomic backgrounds, the research team found that hyperactivity and impulsivity, depression, substance use, low social support, exposure to suicide and negative life events increased vulnerability to suicide thoughts and attempts. “But among youth in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, hyperactivity and impulsivity was even more strongly associated with suicidal behaviours,” says Éric Lacourse, senior author of the study and a Université de Montréal sociology professor. “We observed that community adversity could amplify a young person’s vulnerability to consider suicide.”

Dr. Lacourse, who is also a scientist at the Research at the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, says bolstering access to health or community services in disadvantaged neighbourhoods may help reduce suicidal behaviour among Youths. “This is the first study to examine the independent role of neighbourhood disadvantage as a risk factor in adolescent suicidal behaviours,” added Dr. Dupéré. “Our study suggests that to be effective, intervention and prevention efforts must reach vulnerable adolescents living in disadvantaged communities.”

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medical News Today

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