Self-inflicted gunshot wounds among Alaska Natives.
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Self-inflicted gunshot wounds among Alaska Natives.

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  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Deaths by violence (accidents, homicide, suicide) have increased significantly among Alaska Natives who have a suicide rate three times that of the general U.S. population. Self-inflicted gunshot wounds comprised 75 percent of the suicides among Alaska Natives from 1976 through 1980. A review of psychiatric consultations concerning 34 Alaska Natives who had survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound indicated some common characteristics. Of the group, 28 were male, and 20 had been using alcohol at the time of the shooting. Interpersonal conflicts were cited by most persons as partial motivation for the shooting, and most shootings were impulsive rather than premeditated. Few patients had a psychiatric history or appeared impaired at the time of the consultation. Cultural and intrapsychic factors that might contribute to this high rate of self-destructive behavior were examined. These include a proscription against verbal expression of negative affect and an increase of non-Native influences with subsequent social disorganization and cultural conflict.
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