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The purpose of this study is to examine the current literature on adolescent suicide in Canada. The paper begins with a delineation of the general scope of the problem; this is followed by an exploration of demographic and psychosocial variables postulated as causal or contributive factors to the problem of adolescent suicide.

The third section of the paper places the problem in context by examining the conservative, conflict and feminist models of causative and contributive factors. The final section of the paper presents a series of conclusions about adolescent suicide in Canada which were formulated on the basis of the reviewed material.

Data regarding the scope of adolescent suicide in Canada have been compiled by the National Task Force on Suicide. According to the Task Force report, from 1989 to 1991, suicide was the second leading cause of death (after car accidents) for Canadians aged 15 and 19 years. The report noted that the adolescent suicide rate is of special concern because it has greatly increased over the last 40 years.

Regarding this increase, the Task Force stated that adolescent suicide is up from 3.3 per 100,000 in 1950 to 13.8 per 100,000 in 1991, a figure that is higher than that of the United States; moreover, among Native groups, these figures are even higher.

Pagliaro reports that attempted suicide is higher among female adolescents than among male adolescents; indeed, females attempt suicide four times more frequently. However, female adolescents have a higher survival rate than male adolescents because they use less lethal means.

Leenaars and Lester explored social and economic correlates of suicide rates for those aged 15+ years in Canada over the period 19651985, using data from the WHO. Rates of birth, divorce, marriage, and unemployment were obtained from the United Nations (annual).

Findings showed that in Canada, measures of domestic integration (divorce and ...

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