Sociology, Department of


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Published in American Psychologist 63:1 (January 2008), pp. 14-31; doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.1.14 Copyright © 2008 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


Ethnic groups differ in rates of suicidal behaviors among youths, the context within which suicidal behavior occurs (e.g., different precipitants, vulnerability and protective factors, and reactions to suicidal behaviors), and patterns of help-seeking. In this article, the authors discuss the cultural context of suicidal behavior among African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Latino adolescents, and the implications of these contexts for suicide prevention and treatment. Several cross-cutting issues are discussed, including acculturative stress and protective factors within cultures; the roles of religion and spirituality and the family in culturally sensitive interventions; different manifestations and interpretations of distress in different cultures; and the impact of stigma and cultural distrust on help-seeking. The needs for culturally sensitive and community-based interventions are discussed, along with future opportunities for re¬search in intervention development and evaluation.

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