Gendered Contexts: Examining the Variation of Suicide Ideation for Adolescent Girls and Boys across States

Kathryn M. Nowotny, University of Colorado at Boulder
Rachel Peterson, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jason D. Boardman, University of Colorado at Boulder

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States accounting for 11 percent of all deaths to youth aged 12-19 during 1999-2006 (CDC 2010). There are distinct gender differences in suicide mortality and suicidality. Girls report higher rates of attempting suicide, yet boys are more likely to die from suicide. We use the Add Health to develop a state-level measure of the gendered context and examine the differential influence of that context of on youth suicide ideation for girls and boys. The findings show that living in a context defined by rigid norms about gender attitudes and behaviors is associated with greater odds of suicide ideation among adolescents. However, the gendered context is more detrimental for girls than boys. This study makes a significant contribution by demonstrating the negative consequences for regulation of gender for youth.

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Presented in Session 63: Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality