Article

Suicide notes among Native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglos.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84158-1289, USA.
Qualitative Health Research (Impact Factor: 2.19). 06/2011; 21(11):1484-94. DOI: 10.1177/1049732311412789
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Suicide is a significant health problem, yet many questions regarding suicide remain unanswered. One of the most frequently asked questions is related to motive: "Why did that person complete suicide?" We explored motivations for completing suicide, especially with regard to cultural differences, by analyzing suicide notes written by Native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglos in New Mexico. Five categories emerged describing motivation: feelings of (a) alienation, (b) failure or inadequacy, (c) being psychologically overwhelmed; (d) the desire to leave problems behind, and (e) reunification in an afterlife. The largest difference to emerge between ethnic groups was in the alienation category, which included more Hispanics and Native Americans than Anglos. The overall lack of differences in motivation among the ethnic groups suggests that commonalities in suicidal behavior outweigh the differences. Practical implications for research and practice are discussed, along with strengths and limitations of the study.

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