A Longitudinal Study of Racial Discrimination and Risk for Death Ideation in African American Youth


Although multiple studies have found that African Americans commonly experience racial discrimination, available studies have yet to examine how perceived racism might be related to suicide vulnerability in African American youth. The purpose of this study was to examine a framework for how perceived racial discrimination contributes to symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as subsequent suicide ideation and morbid ideation. Data were obtained from 722 African American youth at mean age 10.56 years (SD = 0.64); a second wave of data was obtained 2 years later. Results revealed both a direct effect and mediated effects of perceived racism on later suicide and morbid ideation. For boys and girls, the effect of perceived racism was mediated by symptoms of depression. However, the association was mediated by anxiety for girls, but not for boys in the current sample. Implications for future research and interventions are discussed.



African Americans, Racial discrimination, Suicide, Depression, Anxiety


Copyright 2016 Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. This is a post-print, peer-reviewed version of a published paper that is available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sltb.12251/abstract. Recommended citation: Walker, Rheeda, David Francis, Gene Brody, Ronald Simons, Carolyn Cutrona, and Frederick Gibbons. "A longitudinal study of racial discrimination and risk for death ideation in African American youth." Suicide and life-threatening behavior 47, no. 1 (2017): 86-102. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.