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.
The failure of sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, and police to document this affliction and communicate it to the educational and social systems, has resulted in an inability among teachers, parents, ministers, and youth organization volunteers and workers to recognize and take seriously the personality disturbances and social turbulence in adolescent lives that may relate to self-destruction.