Understanding Suicide Attempts Among American Indian Adolescents in New Mexico: Modifiable Factors Related to Risk and Resiliency

Document Type




To examine correlates of suicide attempts among American Indian adolescents living on reservations in New Mexico.




American Indian adolescents attending school in New Mexico, grades 6 to 12.


Data from the Search Institute Profiles of Student Life Attitudes and Behaviors survey related to suicide attempts and student assets and risk behaviors. Hypothesized predictor variables derived from 39 survey questions were tested against one outcome variable relating to prior suicide attempts.


Of 690 American Indian students included in the study, 24.2% indicated having attempted suicide one or more times in their lives. Salient assets included having neighbors who cared about them, adults who made them feel important, and having friends who did well in school. Notable risk factors were feeling depressed, drug and alcohol use, and having been the victim of violence.


Adolescent suicide continues to be a major concern for American Indians. A focus on strengthening parent-child relationships and community support for families may increase resiliency among youth at risk.


Adolescent; Adult; Data collection; Depression; Mental; Drinking of alcoholic beverages; Drug abuse; Ethnology; Family Characteristics/Ethnology; Female; Human ecology; Humans; Indians of North America; Indians of North America--Alcohol use; Indians of North America--Drug use; Indians; North American/Psychology; Interpersonal relations; Male; Men; New Mexico; Older people; Risk Factors; Social ecology; Social environment; Social surveys; Statistical services; Suicide; Suicide; Attempted/Ethnology; Suicide; Attempted/Statistics & Numerical Data; Suicide--Psychological aspects; Suicide--Risk factors; Suicide victims; Suicide victims--Family relationships; Teenagers; Teenagers--Alcohol use; Teenagers--Drug use; Teenagers--Suicidal behavior; Women; Youth--Alcohol use; Youth--Drug use; Youth--Suicidal behavior


Community-Based Research | Community Health | Indigenous Studies | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Race and Ethnicity


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