Differences by age and sex in adolescent suicide

Stephanie Lee, Jeremy Dwyer, Eldho Paul, David Clarke, Sophie Treleaven, Robert Roseby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To compare demographic and psychosocial characteristics of completed suicide between younger and older adolescents, and by sex. Methods: Data was collected from the Victorian Suicide Register, which contains information on suicides reported to the Coroners Court of Victoria. Results: Between 2006 and 2015, there were 273 completed suicides aged 10–19 years, with none aged 10–12 years. There were 171 (63%) suicides in the older adolescent group (17–19 years), and 102 (37%) in the younger group (13–16 years). Males comprised 184 cases (67%) and females 89 (33%). A higher proportion of both younger and female adolescents had experienced abuse, peer conflict and bullying. There was also a higher incidence of previous self-harm in younger and female adolescents. Older adolescents were more likely to not be in formal education, employment or training. Conclusion: Suicide in younger adolescents and females appear to share characteristics, and differ from older and male adolescents. Negative interpersonal relationships and previous self-harm with possible co-existenting mental illness appear to be key differentiating features. Implications for public health: Understanding completed suicide is an important step towards prevention, and our results suggest a need for developmentally and sex-specific suicide prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • adolescent
  • mental health
  • paediatrics
  • suicide
  • youth

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