Andres J. Pumariega(1), Eugenio M. Rothe(2), Jeffrey Swanson(3), Charles E. Holzer(4), Arthur O. Linskey(5) and Ruben Quintero-Salinas(6)
1. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA and The Reading Hospital, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
2. Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA
3. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
4. University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
5. University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, USA
6. Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas, Matamoros, Mexico
Immigration and Mental Health: Stress, Psychiatric Disorders and Suicidal Behavior Among Immigrants and Refugees. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 350 pages.
Recent literature has suggested a significant acceleration in the rate of suicide amongst Latino youth, now approaching the higher rates traditionally seen amongst white youth. Acculturation into mainstream culture has been suggested as a significant factor in this increase. This study reports on the association of suicidality and cultural status in two closely related Hispanic populations of youth, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans on either side of the lower Rio Grande Valley. We surveyed a total of 4,157 students, 11 to 19 years of age. In Mexico, we surveyed 2,382 students in “secundaria” (8th/ 9th grade equivalent) and “preparatoria” (high school) students. In the U.S., 1,777 students in grades 7 to 12 were surveyed. A selfadministered questionnaire was developed which included demographic and socioeconomic variables, suicidality (one week and lifetime suicidal ideation and lifetime attempts), substance abuse, depressive symptoms, and time utilization by the student on various activities. Suicidal ideation in the past week (Chi square = 29.5, p < .001) and suicidal ideation ever (Chi Square = 202.4, p < .001) were both significantly correlated to a combination of parental origin and place of residence (U.S. vs. Mexico). Some of the culturally-mediated activity variables, generational status, and clinical variables were correlated to past week and lifetime suicidal ideation, though clinical variables predominated in their correlation to lifetime attempts. Results suggest that acculturation may increase the risk of suicidal ideation in Hispanic adolescents, while suicide attempts require clinical symptomatology.