Suicidal Ideation in Hispanic and Mixed-Ancestry Adolescents


  • Rene L. Olvera MD, MPH

    Corresponding author
    1. is with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
      This research was partially supported by the Friends for Psychiatric Research. The author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Robert E. Roberts, Ph.D., of the University of Texas School of Public Health-Houston, and Steven R. Pliszka, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for their project consultation. Through Dr. Roberts this research received partial support from the National Institute of Mental Health-grant MH51687.
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Address correspondence to Rene L. Olvera, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900. E-mail:


This survey examined differences in suicidal ideation, depressive symptomatology, acculturation, and coping strategies based on ethnicity. The author gathered data from a self-report questionnaire administered to students in an ethnically diverse middle school (grades 6–8, N = 158). Hispanic (predominantly Mexican American) and mixed-ancestry adolescents displayed significantly higher risk of suicidal ideation compared to Anglo peers, even when socioeconomic status, age, and gender were controlled for. Suicidal ideation was associated with depressive symptoms, family problems, lower levels of acculturation, and various coping strategies. Using multivariate analysis, Hispanic ancestry, depressive symptoms, family problems, and the use of social coping remained in the model.