Self-harm among Hispanic adolescents: Investigating the role of culture-related stressors

Richard C. Cervantes, Jeremy T. Goldbach, Alberto Varela, Daniel A. Santisteban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. Research shows Hispanic adolescents report disproportionate rates of both suicidal ideation and attempts. The purpose of the present study was twofold. First, the present study aimed to document the presence of suicidal ideation and self-harm behavior in a large heterogeneous sample of Hispanic adolescents. Second, this study sought to identify specific and unique culturally relevant stressors that were associated with the higher self-reported suicidal thoughts and self-harm among Hispanic males and females separately.

Methods Data were collected on 1,651 Hispanic adolescents who completed the Hispanic Stress Inventory-Adolescent Version.

Results Results of both rates and culture-related stressors that associated with the high rates of suicidal ideation are presented. Of the eight subscales measured in the Hispanic Stress Inventory-Adolescent, four subscales were predictive of either suicidal ideation or self-harm. For males, Acculturation Gap Stress was associated with suicidal thoughts and Discrimination Stress was associated with both suicidal thoughts and self-harm behavior. For females, Family Drug Stress was associated with suicidal thoughts. Acculturation Gap Stress, Family Drug Stress, and Immigration Stress were all significantly associated with self-harm behaviors.

Conclusions Findings are discussed as they inform future culturally competent prevention interventions and future research studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-639
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Depression
  • Hispanic
  • Self-harm
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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