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01-11-2011 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2011

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2011

Acculturative Stress, Perceived Discrimination, and Vulnerability to Suicide Attempts Among Emerging Adults

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2011
Judelysse Gomez, Regina Miranda, Lillian Polanco
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Primary authorship is shared equally by Judelysse Gomez and Regina Miranda.


Cultural factors are often neglected in studies of suicidal behavior among emerging adults. The present study examined acculturative stress and perceived discrimination as statistical predictors of a suicide attempt history among an ethnically diverse sample of 969 emerging adults, ages 18–25 (M = 18.8). Females made up 68% of the sample, and the racial/ethnic composition included Asian, Latino, Black, and White (US-born and non-US-born) individuals. There were no statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in endorsement of a suicide attempt history, with an overall rate of 8% in the sample. Asian participants reported higher acculturative stress than all other racial/ethnic groups, while both Asian and Black participants reported having experienced more discrimination in the previous year, compared to other groups. Logistic regression analyses suggested that familial acculturative stress was associated with 2 times higher odds of endorsing a past suicide attempt, overall. More specifically, it was associated with over 2 times higher odds among Asian participants, over 4 times higher odds among Black participants, and over 3 times higher odds among non-US-born White participants, while social acculturative stress was associated with over 3 times higher odds of endorsing a past suicide attempt among Latino participants. Environmental acculturative stress was associated with decreased odds of endorsing a suicide attempt history, overall, but not when examined separately by racial/ethnic group. Perceived discrimination was associated with over 5 times higher odds of a suicide attempt, overall, and specifically was associated with over 3 times higher odds among Latino participants and over 10 times higher odds among White, US-born participants. These findings suggest the importance of addressing culturally-related variables in treatment with emerging adults of racially/ethnically diverse backgrounds to reduce risk for suicidal behavior.

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