Immigration generation status and its association with suicide attempts, substance use, and depressive symptoms among Latino adolescents in the USA

Juan B. Peña, Peter A. Wyman, C. Hendricks Brown, Monica M. Matthieu, Telva E. Olivares, Diana Hartel, Luis H. Zayas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the relation between suicide attempts and immigrant generation status using the Latino subset of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a school-based, nationally representative sample. This study also examined whether generation status predicted risk factors associated with elevated suicide behaviors, namely illicit substance use, problematic alcohol use, and depressive symptoms. Finally, hypothesizing that elevated depressive symptoms and substance use mediate the relation between immigrant generation status and suicide attempts among Latino adolescents, a path model was tested. Our findings revealed immigrant generation status was a determinant for suicide attempts, problematic alcohol use, repeated marijuana use, and repeated other drug use for Latino adolescents. US-born Latinos with immigrant parents (i.e., second-generation youth) were 2.87 (95% CI, 1.34, 6.14) times more likely to attempt suicide, 2.27 (95% CI, 1.53, 3.35) times more likely to engage in problematic alcohol use, 2.56 (95% CI, 1.62, 4.05) times more likely to engage in repeated marijuana use, and 2.28 (95% CI, 1.25, 4.17) times more likely to engage in repeated other drug use than were foreign-born youth (i.e., first-generation youth). Later-generations of US-born Latino youth with US-born parents were 3.57 (95% CI, 1.53-8.34) times more likely to attempt suicide, 3.34 (95% CI, 2.18-5.11) times more likely to engage in problematic alcohol use, 3.90 (95% CI, 2.46, 6.20) times more likely to engage in repeated marijuana use, and 2.80 (95% CI, 1.46, 5.34) times more likely to engage in repeated other drug use than were first-generation youth. Results from the path analysis indicated that repeated other drug use may mediate the effect of generation status on suicide attempts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
JournalPrevention Science
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Immigration
  • Substance use
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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