Are Mexican American Adolescents at Greater Risk of Suicidal Behaviors?



A reexamination of ethnicity as a risk factor for adolescent suicidal behavior, focusing on whether Mexican American youths are at increased risk, was undertaken. Data from a sample of 4,175 African, European, and Mexican Americans, aged 11–17, are presented. We examined lifetime attempts and past year attempts, thoughts, and plans. Odds ratios, adjusting for covariates, indicate no differences between European and Mexican Americans on past year thoughts, plans, or attempts or lifetime attempts. Although some studies have reported Mexican American youths are at increased risk, we did not find any differences. Possible explanations for disparate results across studies are discussed, in particular methods effects.