Suicide Among Inuit: Results From a Large, Epidemiologically Representative Follow-Back Study in Nunavut.

TitleSuicide Among Inuit: Results From a Large, Epidemiologically Representative Follow-Back Study in Nunavut.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsChachamovich E, Kirmayer LJ, Haggarty JM, Cargo M, Mccormick R, Turecki G
JournalCan J Psychiatry
Volume60
Issue6
Pagination268-75
Date Published2015 Jun
ISSN1497-0015
KeywordsAdult, Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Humans, Inuits, Male, Northwest Territories, Personality Disorders, Risk Factors, Substance-Related Disorders, Suicide, Young Adult
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The Inuit population in Canada's North has suffered from high rates of death by suicide. We report on the first large-scale, controlled, epidemiologically representative study of deaths by suicide in an Indigenous population, which investigates risk factors for suicide among all Inuit across Nunavut who died by suicide during a 4-year period.METHODS: We identified all suicides by Inuit (n = 120) that occurred between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2006, in Nunavut. For each subject, we selected a community-matched control subject. We used proxy-based procedures and conducted structured interviews with informants to obtain life histories, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Axis I and II diagnoses, and measures of impulsive and (or) aggressive traits.RESULTS: Compared with control subjects, subjects who died by suicide were more likely to have experienced childhood abuse (OR 2.38; 95% CI 1.39 to 4.08), have family histories of major depressive disorder (P = 0.002) and suicide completion (P = 0.02), and have been affected by major depressive disorder (OR 13.00; 95% CI 6.20 to 27.25), alcohol dependence (OR 2.90; 95% CI 1.59 to 5.24), or cannabis dependence (OR 3.96; 95% CI 2.29 to 6.8) in the last 6 months. In addition, subjects who died by suicide were more likely to have been affected with cluster B personality disorders (OR 10.18; 95% CI 3.34 to 30.80) and had higher scores of impulsive and aggressive traits (P < 0.001).CONCLUSIONS: At the individual level, clinical risk factors for suicide among Inuit are similar to those observed in studies with the general population, and indicate a need for improved access to mental health services. The high rate of mental health problems among control subjects suggests the need for population-level mental health promotion.

DOI10.1177/070674371506000605
Alternate JournalCan J Psychiatry
PubMed ID26175324
PubMed Central IDPMC4501584
Grant ListSAN-73555 / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada

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