Online Program

Associations between lifetime experiences of discrimination and lifetime suicide attempts among a cross-sectional sample of adult Latino males: Findings from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions (NESARC)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:14 p.m. - 3:32 p.m.

Jessica Marden, MPH, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Amaya Perez-Brumer, BA, Harvard University School of Public Health and the Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA
Stephen Gilman, Sc.D., Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
BACKGROUND: Suicide is the thirteenth leading cause of death for Latinos of all ages and the suicide death rate is five times higher among Latino men compared to women. Given that robust associations have been observed between race/ethnicity, discrimination and suicide, further research specific to Latino males will enhance our understanding of how specific stressors such as race-based discrimination may predict group-level vulnerability to suicide.

METHODS: The study included Latino male participants in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) follow-up study conducted between 2004-2005. Racial discrimination was assessed by an experiences of discrimination (EOD) scale, which asked participants about their lifetime experiences of discrimination prior to the past year. Lifetime suicide attempts were measured via self-report. Logistic regression was used to test for associations between race-based discrimination and suicide attempts.

RESULTS: Of the 2,618 Latino male NESARC participants, 69 reported having ever attempted suicide. Higher scores on EOD were associated with a significantly higher odds of suicide (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.12-1.17); this association was unchanged after adjusting for participants' history of major depression diagnosis (OR=1.12, 95% CI: 1.10-1.15). In standard deviation units, a 1-SD difference in experiences of racial discrimination was associated with a 2.78 times higher odds of attempting suicide.

CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that experiences of racial discrimination are an important predictor of suicide attempts among a nationally representative sample of Latino men. This work helps characterize the association between racial discrimination and suicide among Latino men, and will inform future research aimed at creating prevention strategies.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the association between lifetime experiences of racial discrimination and attempted suicide in a nationally representative sample of Latino men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. I was mentored by Dr. Stephen Gilman, a recognized expert in the field of epidemiology with a focus on mental health. My research interests include maternal and child health, Latin American immigrant health disparities, and stress research both domestically and internationally
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.