Suicide ideation and attempt in a community cohort of urban aboriginal youth: A cross-sectional study

Joanne N. Luke, Ian P. Anderson, Graham J. Gee, Reg Thorpe, Kevin G. Rowley, Rachel Reilly, Alister Thorpe, Paul J. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There has been increasing attention over the last decade on the issue of indigenous youth suicide. A number of studies have documented the high prevalence of suicide behavior and mortality in Australia and internationally. However, no studies have focused on documenting the correlates of suicide behavior for indigenous youth in Australia. Aims: To examine the prevalence of suicide ideation and attempt and the associated factors for a community cohort of Koori (Aboriginal) youth. Method: Data were obtained from the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) Young People's Project (YPP), a community initiated cross-sectional data set. In 1997/1998, self-reported data were collected for 172 Koori youth aged 12-26 years living in Melbourne, Australia. The data were analyzed to assess the prevalence of current suicide ideation and lifetime suicide attempt. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to identify closely associated social, emotional, behavioral, and cultural variables at baseline and Cox regression modeling was then used to identify associations between PCA components and suicide ideation and attempt. Results: Ideation and attempt were reported at 23.3% and 24.4%, respectively. PCA yielded fi ve components: (1) emotional distress, (2) social distress A, (3) social distress B, (4) cultural connection, (5) behavioral. All were positively and independently associated with suicide ideation and attempt, while cultural connection showed a negative association. Conclusions: Suicide ideation and attempt were common in this cross-section of indigenous youth with an unfavorable profi le for the emotional, social, cultural, and behavioral factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-261
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aboriginal suicide
  • Indigenous suicide
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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