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Risk Factors Associated with Adolescent Suicide - Essay Example

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Risk Factors Associated with Adolescent Suicide
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Risk Factors Associated with Adolescent Suicide

This rising trend, particularly in the 15-19 age group placed suicide as the leading cause of death for males and the third most common cause of death for females. As a result of these figures, suicidal behaviour in adolescents became a major health concern in both developed and developing countries. This paper will review studies that seek to identify risk factors in adolescent suicide. The research will pertain to two dissimilar geographical areas and their social milieu, namely New Zealand (the Beautrais, Drummond, Fortune, Heled, Langford, and Fleming studies) and Korea (the Lee, Park, and Kim studies). Half a world apart, the two countries have recorded rising incidences of suicide and suicide ideation among the children and adolescents in their societies. The aim of this study of both countries is to gain knowledge which would help implement new strategies to reduce the rising suicide figures. The study shall employ the Comparative Social Science Approach as research framework. Theoretical Framework This paper shall employ a variant of the Comparative Social Science Approach, a framework for cross border research projects carried out by international researchers. The framework is one of the several paradigms endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. While this exercise does not employ a network of researchers, for which the framework is best suited, it is however useful in structuring a comparative study across borders, such as this one. The framework entails identification and discussion of the following elements: (1) Identification of criteria in the context of cross comparison and transferability (2) A better grasp of cross-national phenomena (3) Collective learning for the benefit of research for action. The first step indicates that there are varied criteria for research that would be relevant to each country specifically. However, there would also be criteria which would be relevant to both social environments, and therefore would prove useful in the transference and comparison of information across the theoretical divide. While the first step seeks what are common between the two societies, the second step entails an understanding of the differences between the two settings. An appreciation of the country-specific elements would shed light on the nature of the phenomenon studied – in this case, the incidence and ideation of suicide among adolescents. This understanding would prove invaluable in determining the usefulness and validity of the findings on the basis of the geographical location. Finally, the collective learning gathered should yield recommendations that would prove useful in the preparation of an action plan. Discussion of the academic literature Before applying the framework, the topic of study should first be compared for compatibility. The studies appear to agree that previous suicide attempts are predictive of future suicidal behaviours (Fleming et al, 2007: 214), with an important qualification. However, the New Zealand studies tackled the matter of fatal suicides – attempts that had resulted in a death. The Korean studies, on the other hand, dealt with suicide ideation, without information on suicide fatalities. The Kim study refers to an article published by Myers et al (1991) which states it would be inappropriate to generalize results from those who have attempted suicide to suicide ideators and adolescents who have actually committed suicide, as there may be qualitative differences in these groups. The Fleming et al study indirectly supports this theory when it quotes the work of Evans et al (2005) which states ‘few young people who report to have tried to kill themselves may in fact have wished to die, and very few ... Read More
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