Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ethnicity and suicide in the U.S.

In the U.S. the suicide rate among older White people is significantly higher than that among older Black people. For men the rates are 27.8 per 100,000 in Whites versus 11.1 per 100,000 in Blacks and for women the rates are 5.1 per 100,000 versus 1.1 per 100,000 respectively. A study of 1,074 people in Brooklyn, New York looked at the levels of suicidality (thoughts about wanting to kill oneself) in both races. Whites were more likely than Blacks to display suicidality currently (5.8% vs 2.3%) and over the course of their lifetime (14.8% vs 10.2%) although neither of these differences were statistically significant. Four variables were associated with suicidality in both races: depression, anxiety, coping by using medication and lower religiosity. Two variables were associated with suicidality only among Whites: a higher use of spiritualists and coping by keeping calm. One variable, a greater use of doctors for mental-health problems, was significant only among Blacks.

Cohen, Carl I. ... [et al] - Racial differences in suicidality in an older urban population The Gerontologist 2008, 48(1), 71-78

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