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Can Better Mother-Daughter Relations Reduce the Chance of a Suicide Attempt among Latinas?

DOI: 10.1155/2011/403602

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National surveys and other research on adolescent Latinas show that adolescent females have higher rates of suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts than other ethnic and racial minority youth. Internalizing behaviors and family conflicts are commonly associated with suicidality in research on adolescents. In the case of Latinas, we explore the connection between adolescent Hispanic cultural involvement, mother-adolescent mutuality, internalizing behaviors, and suicidality. This paper presents data from a study of 232 Latinas, some with a recent history of suicide attempts ( ). The results show that higher adolescent Hispanic cultural involvement was associated with greater mother-daughter mutuality and thus led to reduction in the likelihood of suicide attempts. The relationship between mother-daughter mutuality and suicide attempts among Latinas is mediated by specific internalizing behaviors (withdrawn depressive). Our findings highlight the positive effect that Latino cultural values have in the relationship between Latina adolescent and their mothers and confirm the importance that internalizing behaviors and the mother-daughter relationship have for suicide attempters. 1. Background Since 1991, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) has shown that the rates of suicide ideation, planning, and attempts by adolescent Latinas are higher than those of adolescents of other ethnic and racial groups [1, 2]. Latinas are also more likely to have attempted suicide one or more times in the year prior to the survey (11.1%) compared to Blacks (10.4%) and Whites (6.5%) [1]. In addition, Latina adolescents are known to manifest higher levels of depression and suicidal behaviors than female adolescents from other racial and ethnic groups [3–6]. Not only do Latinas report more persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, but they are consistently more prone to ideate, plan, and attempt a suicide. For example, the 2009 YRBSS [1] shows that Latina adolescents were more likely to feel sad or hopeless (39.7%) than any other group of girls (Black, 37.5% or White, 31.1%). Finally, the existing literature has provided ample evidence for the connection between depression and suicide attempts among adolescents [7] and between attempts and completed suicide [8]. 1.1. Hispanic Cultural Involvement, Mother-Daughter Relationships, and Suicidal Behavior The examination of interpersonal transactions during adolescence between Latina suicide attempters and their families, especially their mothers, can provide important insight into the course of suicidal thinking


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