Risk pathways for suicide among native American adolescents

Lauren Tingey, Mary Cwik, Novalene Goklish, Francen Larzelere Hinton, Angelita Lee, Rosemarie Suttle, John T. Walkup, Mary Allison Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Native American (Native) adolescents have the highest suicide rates in the United States, yet no conceptual models describing risk factors specific to this population exist. We sought to further hone a Native-specific conceptual model developed from quantitative data with qualitative data collected from a longitudinal series of interviews with (N = 22) Native adolescents who had attempted suicide. Four levels of suicide risk emerged, detailing individual, family, community, and societal factors that affect youths' pathways to suicide, along with a variety of subthemes and constructs. Some themes parallel established models of suicide risk; however, others are unique to the experience of this sample, including the impact of overtaxed households and family composition, significant grief burden, contagion, and stigma surrounding treatment seeking. We suggest adaptations of existing themes and constructs in the model. We discuss practical implications for research and intervention development, along with strengths and limitations of the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1518-1526
Number of pages9
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 12 2014



  • Aboriginal people, North America
  • adolescents / youth
  • model building
  • qualitative analysis
  • risk, behaviors
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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