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Social Integration and Suicide-Related Ideation from a Social Network Perspective: A Longitudinal Study among Inner-City African Americans

Authors

  • S. Janet Kuramoto PhD, MHS,

    1. American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, Arlington, VA, USA
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  • Holly C. Wilcox PhD,

    1. Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
    2. Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • Carl A. Latkin PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
    • American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, Arlington, VA, USA
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  • The authors wish to acknowledge the National Institute on Drug Abuse for project support (R01 DA010446 (PI: Latkin)) and training support of S. Janet Kuramoto (F31DA0263182). This work was performed while S. Janet Kuramoto was a student at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The authors appreciate the American Association of Suicidology for the opportunity to present this work at the 44th Annual Conference as a recipient of the Morton M. Silverman Student Award.

Address correspondence to Carl A. Latkin, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205; E-mail: clatkin@jhsph.edu

Abstract

Social network density, as measured by the extent to which network members know each other, was examined to determine whether it is associated with suicide-related ideation and plan approximately 3 years later. Eight hundred and nineteen African Americans were interviewed at Wave 1 (1997–1999) and Wave 4 (2001–2003) of the Self-Help In Eliminating Life-Threatening Diseases (SHIELD) study, a HIV preventive intervention study in Baltimore, MD. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to compare risks of suicide-related ideation and plan at Wave 4 by Wave 1 density. Even after adjusting for baseline sociodemographic characteristics and depressive symptoms, individuals with a lower level of density were three times more likely to report suicide-related ideation and plan in the past year at Wave 4. The findings reinforce the importance of social integration among inner-city African Americans from a social network perspective. Future research should examine the mechanisms associated with this relationship and other social network constructs.

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