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Asian Am J Psychol. 2010 Mar;1(1):18-30.

Lifetime Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts in Asian Americans.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis.


Few studies have examined the role of culturally relevant factors in suicidal behavior among Asian Americans. Using the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) (Alegria et al., 2004; Heeringa et al., 2004), the current study examined the role of culturally related variables (family conflict, perceived discrimination, and ethnic identity) on suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in a nationally representative sample of 2,095 Asian Americans. Important covariates were sociodemographic characteristics (gender, age, marital status, years of education, household poverty, and nativity status), depressive and anxiety disorders, and number of chronic conditions. Gender related correlates were also explored. The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts was 8.8% and 2.5%, respectively. Female gender, family conflict, perceived discrimination, and the presence of lifetime depressive or anxiety disorders were positively correlated with suicidal ideation and attempts. A high level of identification with one's ethnic group was associated with lower rates of suicide attempts. Among Asian men, but not women, the presence of chronic medical conditions was associated with suicidal ideation. Findings highlight the contributions to suicide risk of cultural factors and gender differences in Asian Americans.

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