The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Suicide Risk and Protective Factors

Article
Suicide

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention risk and protective factors list helps workers identify the likelihood of suicide.

Risk factors may be thought of as leading to or being associated with suicide.  This means that people who “possess” the risk factor are at a greater potential for suicidal behavior. Protective factors, on the other hand, reduce the likelihood of suicide. They enhance resilience and may help to counterbalance risk factors.

However, the impact of some risk factors can clearly be reduced by certain interventions such as providing medication or strengthening social support in a community (Baldessarini, Tando, & Hennen, 1999). Risk factors that cannot be changed (such as a previous suicide attempt) can alert others to the heightened risk of suicide during periods of the recurrence of a mental or substance abuse disorder or following a significant stressful life event (Oquendo et al., 1999).

Protective factors are quite varied and include an individual’s attitudinal and behavioral characteristics, as well as attributes of the environment and culture (Plutchik & Van Praag, 1994). Some of the most important risk and protective factors are outlined below.

Protective Factors for Suicide

Biopsychosocial Risk Factors for Suicide

Environmental Risk Factors for Suicide

Socialcultural Risk Factors

Information about risk and protective factors for attempted suicide is more limited than that on suicide. As a result, it is not yet possible to say with certainty that risk and protective factors for suicide and non-lethal forms of self-injury are the same.


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