Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Lifetime Suicide Attempts Among Blacks in the United States

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 12/2006; 296(17):2112-23. DOI: 10.1001/jama.296.17.2112
Source: PubMed


Lack of data on the lifetime prevalence and age at onset of suicide ideation, plans, and attempts among blacks in the United States limits the creation and evaluation of interventions to reduce suicide among black Americans.
To examine the prevalence and correlates of suicide ideation, planning, and attempts across 2 ethnic classifications of blacks in a nationally representative sample.
Data are from the National Survey of American Life, a national household probability sample of 5181 black respondents aged 18 years and older, conducted between February 2001 and June 2003, using a slightly modified adaptation of the World Health Organization World Mental Health version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Bivariate and survival analyses were used to delineate patterns and correlates of nonfatal suicidal behavior.
Self-reports of lifetime suicide ideation, planning, and attempts.
Survey respondents, categorized as African Americans and Caribbean Americans, reported lifetime prevalence of 11.7% for suicide ideation and 4.1% for attempts. Among the respondents who reported ideation, 34.6% transitioned to making a plan and only 21% made an unplanned attempt. Among 4 ethnic-sex groups, the 7.5% lifetime prevalence for attempts among Caribbean black men was the highest among black Americans. The greatest risk of progressing to suicide planning or attempt among ideators occurred within the first year after ideation onset. Blacks at higher risk for suicide attempts were in younger birth cohorts, less educated, Midwest residents, and had 1 or more Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition disorders.
This study documents the burden of nonfatal suicidality among US blacks, notably Caribbean black men, and individuals making planned attempts. Advancing research on the transition from suicide planning to attempt is vital to the efficacy of health care professionals' ability to screen blacks at risk for suicide.

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    • "suicidal African-American women's positive expectancies about their ability to cope with future events as a means of preventing suicide attempts. Finally, the results indicate that reasons for living are associated with suicidal intent above and beyond spiritual well-being and symptoms of depression, both of which have been previously demonstrated as key factors in determining suicide risk (e.g., Griffin-Fennell and Williams, 2006; Joe et al., 2006; Kaslow et al., 2004; 2006; Meadows et al., 2005). This finding suggests that the capacity to generate and contemplate adaptive reasons for valuing life may protect African- American women from experiencing moderate to high levels of suicidal intent, even more so than spirituality and religiosity do. "
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    ABSTRACT: African-American women are at high risk for suicide ideation and suicide attempts and use emergency psychiatric services at disproportionately high rates relative to men and other ethnic groups. However, suicide death rates are low for this population. Cultural variables in the African-American community may promote resilience and prevent fatal suicidal behavior among African-American women. The present study evaluated self-reported reasons for living as a protective factor against suicidal intent and suicide attempt lethality in a sample of African-American female suicide attempters (n = 150). Regression analyses revealed that reasons for living were negatively associated with suicidal intent, even after controlling for spiritual well-being and symptoms of depression. These results indicate that the ability to generate and contemplate reasons for valuing life may serve as a protective characteristic against life-threatening suicidal behavior among African-American women. Implications for research and clinical practice are further discussed.
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    • "This may be related to erosion of traditional cultural values, increased alcoholism, criminality, and unemployment.[11] In a recent national study in United States, an increased rate of suicide and nonfatal suicidal behaviors were shown to be higher among blacks, particularly among the youngsters.[12] This was in contrast to earlier two large national epidemiological studies which had suggested that Blacks were at lower risk for suicide attempt than non-Hispanic whites.[13] "
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Young adults are at increased risk for suicidal behavior and there is growing concern about racial differences in suicidal ideation, especially in the younger population.Aim:The aim of this study is to assess suicidal ideation in school going tribal and nontribal adolescents and to study its relationships with psychological well-being, depression, and anxiety.Materials and Methods:A total of 259 students of Classes X, XI, and XII of three Schools of Ranchi, who fulfilled inclusion and exclusion criteria, were screened for suicidal ideation by Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ) and psychological well-being by General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12). The level of anxiety and depression was assessed by Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS).Results:Overall 33.2% of the adolescents had suicidal ideation out of which 34.2% were tribal-students and 32.8% nontribal-students with no significant intergroup difference. Psychological discomfort (GHQ-12 Score ≥3) was noticed in 59.1% of adolescents, but no racial difference was found. However, the mean HADS depression score was significantly higher in tribal adolescents, more so in tribal boys than nontribal adolescents or boys, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation of SIQ total score in all the adolescents with GHQ-12 total score, HADS total score, HADS anxiety score, and HADS depression score.Conclusion:There were no racial differences in suicidal ideation and psychological discomfort among tribal and nontribal adolescents. Tribal adolescents, and more specifically tribal boys, had more depression than their nontribal counterparts. Suicidal ideation was positively correlated with psychological discomfort, anxiety, and depression.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Industrial psychiatry journal
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    • "We currently have a limited understanding of the combinations of culturally specific experiences and social psychological characteristics associated with suicide risk and resiliency among African American women, prompting calls for additional research in this area (Joe et al. 2006; Poussaint and Alexander 2000). The existing literature points to the fundamental role of social statuses in the patterning of mental health outcomes, with differential exposure to stressors and access to coping resources as intervening mechanisms (Phelan et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the influence of concurrent racism and sexism experiences (i.e. gendered racism) on African American women's suicidal ideation and behavior in the context of disadvantaged socioeconomic status. Drawing on a stress process framework, the moderating effects of ethnic identity and skin color were explored using multiple regression analyses. Data were from 204 low-income African American women in the B-WISE (Black Women in a Study of Epidemics) project. Findings suggested that experiencing gendered racism significantly increased these women's risk for suicidal ideation or behavior, though only among women with medium or dark skin color. Also, having strong ethnic identity buffered the harmful effects of gendered racism. The moderating properties of skin color and ethnic identity affirmation likely operate through psychosocial pathways, blocking internalization of negative stereotypes and reducing the level of distress experienced in response to gendered racism.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Race and Social Problems
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