Cultural Orientation, Family Cohesion, and Family Support in Suicide Ideation and Depression among African American College Students

Authors

  • Treniece Lewis Harris PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Treniece Lewis Harris, phD, is with the Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Sherry Davis Molock, PhD, is with the Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Washington, DC.
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  • Sherry Davis Molock PhD

    1. Treniece Lewis Harris, phD, is with the Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Sherry Davis Molock, PhD, is with the Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Washington, DC.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This article was based on Treniece Lewis Harris' doctoral dissertation at Howard University.

  • This study was supported by Grant #2R24 MH4719904 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Preparation of this article was supported by an NIMH Postdoctoral Research Supplement for Underrepresented Minorities.

  • We wish to thank Carl Morris for his statistical expertise and suggestions on data analysis.

Address correspondence to Treniece Lewis Harris, Judge Baker Children's Center/Harvard Medical School, 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115.

Abstract

This study extends previous research by examining the role of communalism, family cohesion, and family support in suicide ideation and depression in African American college students. Participants were 188 African American introductory psychology students (126 female, 61 male) from a historically black college.1 Results showed that communalism, family cohesion, and family support were positively associated with each other. Higher levels of family cohesion and family support were associated with lower levels of suicide ideation and depression. Linear regression analyses showed a main effect for communalism and family support. Having strong communal values was positively related to suicide ideation and depression. Having strong family support was associated with fewer experiences of suicide ideation and depression. Stepwise regression analyses indicated that family support explained more variance in suicide ideation and depression than family cohesion. Implications of these results for future research and practice are discussed.

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