The Gender Paradox: Sex-Based Differences in Adolescent Suicidal Behavior




Whittlesey, Claudia

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This thesis aims to investigate the contributing factors behind the gender paradox in suicidal behavior, specifically in adolescents. This global paradox explains that across all age groups, more cisgender males die by suicide, but cisgender females attempt suicide far more. A literature review was conducted on over one-hundred pieces of scientific literature including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, specific case studies, and more clinical research. Literature was considered that focused on suicide mortality rates, suicide attempt rates, different methods used in suicide attempts and suicides, suicide method accessibility compared to suicide mortality rates, rates of various psychiatric disorders (with potential evidence for underreporting in males), help seeking behaviors, non-suicidal self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (NSSI), and other potential external factors for suicidality and depression. This thesis concluded that although the most widely acknowledged reason behind the gender paradox is the difference in method choice with males choosing more lethal methods, there are many other factors that contribute, and it may be harmfully ignorant to solely account this problem to boys being more likely to pick up guns. These other factors include differences in coping methods and external responses to these behaviors, differences in mental health diagnoses and their symptoms, and differences in impulsivity and help seeking behaviors. Gender-specific help-seeking behavior interventions are ultimately suggested as the most probable way to decrease both male suicide rates and female suicide attempt rates.



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