Suicidal ideation among Métis adult men and women—associated risk and protective factors: findings from a nationally representative survey

Mohan B Kumar, Melissa Walls, Teresa Janz, Peter Hutchinson, Tara Turner, Catherine Graham
International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2012 August 6, 71: 18829

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation among Métis men and women (20-59 years) and identify its associated risk and protective factors using data from the nationally representative Aboriginal Peoples Survey (2006).

STUDY DESIGN: Secondary analysis of previously collected data from a nationally representative cross-sectional survey.

RESULTS: Across Canada, lifetime suicidal ideation was reported by an estimated 13.3% (or an estimated 34,517 individuals) of the total population of 20-to-59-year-old Métis. Of those who ideated, 46.2% reported a lifetime suicide attempt and 6.0% indicated that they had attempted suicide in the previous 12 months. Prevalence of suicidal ideation was higher among Métis men than in men who did not report Aboriginal identity in examined jurisdictions. Métis women were more likely to report suicidal ideation compared with Métis men (14.9% vs. 11.5%, respectively). Métis women and men had some common associated risk and protective factors such as major depressive episode, history of self-injury, perceived Aboriginal-specific community issues, divorced status, high mobility, self-rated thriving health, high self-esteem and positive coping ability. However, in Métis women alone, heavy frequent drinking, history of foster care experience and lower levels of social support were significant associated risk factors of suicidal ideation. Furthermore, a significant interaction was observed between social support and major depressive episode. Among Métis men, history of ever smoking was the sole unique associated risk factor.

CONCLUSION: The higher prevalence of suicidal ideation among Métis women compared with Métis men and the observed gender differences in associations with some associated risk and protective factors suggest the need for gender-responsive programming to address suicidal ideation.

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