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Counting girls out of suicide risk assessment

Webb, L (2012) Counting girls out of suicide risk assessment. In: 14th European Symposium of Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour (ESSSB), 03 September 2012 - 06 September 2012, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Abstract

Counting girls out from suicide risk assessment European Symposium of Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour (ESSSB) 2012. Introduction & aims Female gender is often regarded as a lower risk factor for completed suicide in Western populations, notwithstanding the lack of explanatory evidence for this reduced risk. An examination of factors that increase risk among young people suggests significant gender differences in co-morbidities, particularly when substance misuse is present. Suicide trajectories among Western Europeans youth suggest that female substance misusers are likely to present with co-morbid disorders that would increase assessed risk among a general youth population. This investigation aimed to examine risk factors for this female sub-group. methods A literature review was conducted to examine the methodological challenges to researching suicide risk in an under-researched population. The review focused on epidemiological difficulties presented by minority populations and sub-populations, and the role of the prevention paradox in gendered suicide risk. Results Female gender may be overestimated as a protective factor if relying on majoritive actuarial measurement. When co-morbid risk factors are recognised, female gender as a proctective factor becomes much reduced. Young female substance misusers in Western Europe have a higher degree of psychiatric disturbance than males, experience substance misuse as much less a moderator of distress, and present with much higher suicide risk than non-substance using female peers. conclusions It is proposed that evidence of suicide risk factors from majority populations of young people may not be generalizable to a female population of substance misusers and that explanatory evidence for youth suicide based on male majority cohorts, does not apply to young females at risk of suicide.

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