Cross-cultural Models of Suicide Risk

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Journal of Black Psychology




Only a handful of empirical investigations have identified culturally salient markers of suicide risk within samples of African American young adults. To address this gap, our study examined the intercorrelations among cultural congruity, defectiveness schemas, and multiple indices of suicide risk for African American (n = 207) and European American (n = 208) students attending a primary White institution. Cultural congruity was negatively associated with reports of interpersonal and behavioral suicide risk for both African and European American students. However, ethnic differences in the magnitude of these relationships emerged. Specifically, as predicted, for African Americans, lower levels of cultural congruity were more strongly related to greater interpersonal factors associated with a desire to die. Finally, the relationships between cultural congruity and multiple indices of suicide risk were partially mediated by defectiveness schemas for both African and European American students, suggesting a useful intervention target for students. These results also have implications for suicide screening, prevention, and intervention strategies directed toward African American students.