School of Medicine
Faculty Mentor: Erin McGlade (Psychiatry, University of Utah)
Suicidal behaviors (e.g., suicidal ideation and attempts) among Hispanics in the US have been increasing since the 2000s (Silva & Van Orden, 2017). Two factors that are causing an increase in suicidal behaviors are acculturation and acculturative stress. Acculturation is defined as the process of adapting to a new culture (Mody, 2007) while the term acculturative stress has been defined as the psychological impact of adaptation to a new culture (Smart & Smart, 1995). Discrimination, poor language comprehension, low socioeconomic status, family conflict, and low levels of support are some of the acculturative stressors that contribute to suicidal behaviors (Haboush-Deloye et al., 2015). The purpose of this review is to summarize the studies examining suicidal behaviors associated with acculturation and acculturative stress among Hispanics. Many of the studies in this review have found significant relations between suicidal behavior, acculturation, and acculturative stress. However, additional research and public health interventions are needed to better understand and address why acculturation and acculturative stress are affecting the mental health of the Hispanic community in the US. One major study that can provide insight to these associations is the nationwide Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study (including the Diagnostic Neuroimaging, University of Utah site), which is a 10-year longitudinal study that includes variables on suicide behavior and acculturation in youth. Future directions for research and interventions on acculturation, acculturative stress and suicide behaviors also will be explored.
Keywords: acculturation, acculturative stress, suicide, suicide ideation, suicidality, suicide behavior, suicide attempt, Hispanic, Latino, Latina, Mexican, Central American, South American.