Correlates of Suicide Ideation and Resilience Among Native- and Foreign-Born Adolescents in the United States

Lindsay Stark, Ilana Seff, Gary Yu, Mariam Salama, Michael Wessells, Carine Allaf, Cyril Bennouna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Nearly 20% of U.S. adolescents have considered suicide. Yet, gaps remain in understanding correlates of resilience and suicide risk, especially among populations born outside the United States who may face unique migration- and acculturation-related stressors. This study adds to the literature by exploring correlates of suicide ideation among a diverse population. Methods: This study analyzes quantitative data (N = 357) from the Study of Adolescent Lives after Migration to America, in Detroit and Harrisonburg. More than 40% of the sample was born outside the United States, with the majority born in the Middle East and North Africa. Path analysis was used to model dual outcomes of resilience and suicide ideation using measures of hope, school belonging, stressful life events, and being born outside the United States. Results: Suicide ideation and resilience were negatively correlated (ß = -.236[.069]; p < .001). Adolescents with greater hope (ß = .367; p < .001) and school belonging (ß = .407; p < .001) reported higher resilience, while lower levels of school belonging correlated with higher levels of suicide ideation (ß = -.248; p = .009). More stressful life events were associated with suicide ideation (ß = .243; p < .001), while fewer were correlated with resilience (ß = -.106; p = .003). Being born outside the United States was associated with suicide ideation (ß = .186; P-.015), with this finding driven by those from the Middle East and North Africa region, who faced significantly increased risk of suicide ideation (ß = .169; p = .036). Conclusions: Findings suggest that adolescents born in the Middle East and North Africa region may represent a vulnerable group needing targeted and culturally responsive interventions to destigmatize mental health and psychosocial well-being, boost existing sources of resilience, and encourage help-seeking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Refugees
  • Resilience
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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