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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board Member: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Furniss, Tilman / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie

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Adolescent suicide in New York City: plenty of room for new research

Debora Ganz1 / 2, 3

1Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University, New York, NY, USA

2Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

3Department of Psychiatry, James J. Peters Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, New York, NY, USA

Corresponding author: Leo Sher, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, James J. Peters Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, New York 10468, NY, USA

Citation Information: . Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 99–104, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: 10.1515/ijamh.2012.015, November 2011

Publication History

Received:
2010-12-01
Revised:
2010-12-30
Accepted:
2011-01-05
Published Online:
2011-11-29

Abstract

The act of adolescent suicide continues to threaten adolescent populations in New York City (NYC). Consistent positive correlations have been found between a plethora of risk factors present in NYC adolescent populations and suicidal ideations and behaviors. Psychiatric conditions that may contribute to the rate of adolescent suicide in NYC include depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and schizophrenia. Unique factors that have been found to contribute to increased rates of completed suicides in NYC include the phenomena of railway suicides and suicide tourism. Homelessness and income inequality in NYC have also been consistently correlated with increased suicidality; with one study finding suicide attempts reported by a significant percentage of new admissions to homeless shelters. Adolescent populations in NYC that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to suicidality include runaway youth, homosexual youth, victimized adolescents and adolescents with a recent history of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Longitudinal studies in NYC have found that physical and sexual abuse is highly predictive of adolescent suicidality, with variations by ethnic group. Currently, there is a disturbing lack of sufficient research on adolescent suicide in NYC, specifically regarding causal factors, the effects of television on suicide, comorbid suicidality and drug abuse, and cultural factors contributing to suicide. This dearth of literature may be related to the ethical problems inherent in suicide research, self reports and/or post mortem analyses.

Keywords: adolescence; adolescent; New York City; NYC; suicidality; suicide; urban

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