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J Black Psychol. 2006 Aug 1;32(3):262-284.

Explaining Changes in the Patterns of Black Suicide in the United States From 1981 to 2002: An Age, Cohort, and Period Analysis.

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University of Michigan.


To explore the different trends of suicide incidence among Blacks and possible contributing factors, the current study compared national epidemiologic data of suicide in the United States from 1981 to 2002. For the first time, period and birth-cohort effects on the incidence trends of Black suicide were evaluated using an age-period-cohort analysis. Cohort effects were found for males and females, suggesting that younger generations of Blacks are at higher risk. If younger cohorts carry their increased suicide risk into later life, then the recent decline in Black suicide rates will be reversed. The results of the current study are only interpretable in terms of group-level characteristics and population suicide rates and not individual-level characteristics. The possible explanation and the implications for prevention and future research are discussed.

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