Adolescent suicide and attempted suicide are known in most cultures; however, their proposed etiologies are often not distinguished in the literature from those of the adult acts. Specific to the adolescent's experiences of probable suicide-related stress are: puberty and post-puberty socio-sexual adjustments; social and peer pressures; expectations to excel at school; and the sense of parental domination. Other factors which may influence juvenile suicide are: the death of parents, brothers or sisters; parental behaviour suggesting that the adolescent is unloved or unwanted; and physical or psychological isolation. Special circumstances that may aggravate youth suicide include: imprisonment or detention; drug or alcohol addiction; sexual abuse or exploitation; economic exploitation with no or little payment for excessively long, hard or hazardous work; and life under repressive regimes or other circumstances where educational, economic, and social opportunities are severely restricted. Violence in the media is a contributing factor, as is the easy availability of handguns.
Statistics on all suicides are published neither regularly nor uniformly; juvenile suicide statistics appear sporadically and are also subject to scepticism. The absence of reliable data aggravates the problem of insufficient study for preventive purposes.
In 1977 it was reported that the rate of suicide for young Australians is about 16 per 100,000, making it one of the leading causes of death in young people. Australian research shows that about 10% of young people have attempted suicide at some stage in their lives.
In 1994 it was reported that, in the United States, 2,000 adolescents kill themselves every year. For every suicide, there are between 300 and 350 serious attempts.