Online Program

Religiosity, lifetime psychiatric disorders and suicidality among black adolescents: Do African americans and Caribbean blacks differ?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shervin Assari, MD, MPH, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health, University of Michigan School for Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. Efforts to understand suicide often focus on gender and race differences; however, few studies consider within group ethnic differences, especially among Black adolescents. The current study tested if the associations between religiosity and number of lifetime psychiatric disorders, and lifetime suicidal behaviors vary between African American and Caribbean Black adolescents, using data from the National Survey of American Life Adolescent Survey (NSAL-A) The NSAL-A is a nationally representative household survey of 1,170 African American and Caribbean Black adolescents aged 13 to 17 years. Subjective religiosity was measured using three items. Number of psychiatric disorders was measured using a modified version of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Lifetime suicidal behaviors were measured based on the presence of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt. We used Stata 12.0 to fit structural equation models, while taking into account the complex design of the sample. In the pooled sample of Black adolescents, religiosity was not correlated with number of psychiatric disorders or lifetime suicidality. Among Caribbean Black adolescents, higher religiosity was a protective factor against number of lifetime psychiatric disorders and lifetime suicidal behaviors. Religiosity was not, however, significantly associated with number of lifetime psychiatric disorders or lifetime suicidality among African American adolescents. Promotion of religiosity may have important implications for prevention of suicide among Caribbean Black adolescents. Further research is needed to understand how ethnicity and culture shape the effect of religiosity on mental disorders and suicidality among Black adolescents.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe several lifetime disorders that African American and Caribbean adolescents experience Explain the potential association between religiosity and psychiatric disorders on the suicidal behaviors of Black youth by ethnicity Identify ways in which religion may be protective for Caribbean Black youth Name strategies to increase the voice of low-income communities of color in the policy making process

Keyword(s): Suicide, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conceptualized the research question which has formed the analysis design. I have conducted the analysis. I have searched the literature. I have drafted the abstract.
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.