Perceived racism, discrimination, and acculturation in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among black young adults

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2011 Jun;41(3):342-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2011.00033.x. Epub 2011 May 2.


During young adulthood the suicide rate among Blacks rises dramatically and approaches that of the U.S. general population, requiring that prevention efforts include a focus on Black young adults. Although most research on suicidality among Blacks has focused on risk factors observed in the dominant culture, in this study the authors examined associations between perceived discrimination, racism, and acculturation with lifetime suicidal ideation (SI) and suicide attempt (SA) among Black young adults. Two hundred fifty Black or African American individuals aged 18-24 residing in a midsize northeastern city were recruited to participate through advertisements. Participants filled out self-report questionnaires. Logistic regressions were used to examine the association of each predictor with SI and SA. Greater perceived acculturation was associated with SI in univariate and multivariate models. There were no other statistically significant results concerning the predictors of interest. The link between perceived acculturation and SI is consistent with limited available data, indicating the need for further study including the potential mechanism(s) for the association. Limitations include the cross-sectional design and reliance on subjective measures.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Prejudice*
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult