Different Ethnic Groups Present Different Suicide Risk Factors, Study Shows

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According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), about 8.3 million adults in the U.S. reported thinking about suicide last year. Although thinking of suicide does not necessarily mean committing a suicide, current prevention of suicide is troubling, because they are too simple and “one-size-fits-all.”



Twice as many people die by suicide as by homicide in the United States, said psychology professor Rheeda Walker. Suicide risk is not the same for everybody, and the risk factors which may lead to suicide for different ethnic groups vary, too.



Risk factors influenced by ethnic groups


Walker and her colleagues analyzed data collected for 336,482 adults, including ethnic lines of whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian or Pacific Islanders (A/PI), American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) and those who identify as multiracial.



The results are partly presented in the form below. In the form, a tick (√) means the ethnic group was effected by the factor, while a cross (×) means the risk factor showed no respondence to the ethnic group.


12-month depressionAlcohol abuse and dependenceMarijuana usage


What’s more, low income seems to particularly influence the A/PI group, for low income A/PIs were three times more likely to attempt suicide compared to A/PIs with a higher income.


Walker pointed out two conclusions: 1) risk factors are not universal among ethnic groups, and 2) depression was not a meaningful predictor of suicide attempts or thoughts for all of the groups.



"Overall, only psychological distress was consistently associated with suicide ideation and attempts. Other predictors were associated with suicide ideation or attempts and for some racial or ethnic groups, but not others," said Walker.


The research provides a window into new suicide risk profiles needed for a rapidly changing America. “When we ask people if they’ve thought about suicide in the past, we don’t note their race, or overemphasize depression and underplay their marijuana use, for example, we miss important opportunities to generate a risk profile that can lead to better prediction.” Added Walker.

3 Answers

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alas. black people can endure 12 mons depression but cant beat alcohol.
It's a rather complicated psychological process for a person to develop suicidal thoughts. There are too many factors that can affect a person's mental health. Don't overgeneralize!
I don't understand why people commit suicide, who doesn't want to live long and forever?