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Gender Differences in Suicide Prevention Responses: Implications for Adolescents Based on an Illustrative Review of the Literature

Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station Austin, TX 78712, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(3), 2359-2372;
Received: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 11 February 2015 / Published: 23 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention among Youth)
PDF [857 KB, uploaded 23 February 2015]


Background: There are well-documented gender differences in adolescent suicidal behavior; death by suicide is more common in males, while nonfatal suicide attempts are more common among females. Over the past three decades, researchers have documented the effectiveness of a myriad of suicide prevention initiatives. However, there has been insufficient attention to which types of suicide prevention interventions are effective in changing attitudes and behaviors for young males and females. In this review of the literature, we consider common examples of primarily universal suicide prevention programs from three implementation settings: school-based, community-based, and healthcare-based. Our purpose is to delineate how the potential gender bias in such strategies may translate into youth suicide prevention efforts. Methods: Research in which gender was found to moderate program success was retrieved through online databases. Results: The results that feature programming effects for both males and females are provocative, suggesting that when gender differences are evident, in almost all cases, females seem to be more likely than males to benefit from existing prevention programming. Conclusions: We conclude by considering recommendations that may benefit males more directly. Implications for adolescent suicide prevention in particular are discussed. Personalization of suicide intervention is presented as a promising solution to reduce suicide rates. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; suicide; prevention; programming; adolescents gender; suicide; prevention; programming; adolescents

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hamilton, E.; Klimes-Dougan, B. Gender Differences in Suicide Prevention Responses: Implications for Adolescents Based on an Illustrative Review of the Literature. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 2359-2372.

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