ERIC Number: EJ789973
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Racial Differences in Suicidality in an Older Urban Population
Cohen, Carl I.; Colemon, Yolonda; Yaffee, Robert; Casimir, Georges J.
Gerontologist, v48 n1 p71-78 Feb 2008
Purpose: This study used epidemiological data of older African Americans and Caucasians living in an urban community to compare those factors associated with active or passive suicidal ideation in each racial group. Design and Methods: Using 1990 census data for Brooklyn, New York, we attempted to interview all cognitively intact adults aged 55 or older in randomly selected block groups. The sample consisted of 214 Whites and 860 Blacks. We adapted George's social antecedent model to examine 19 independent variables; the dependent variable was based on lifetime history of passive or active suicidal ideation (hereafter, "suicidality"). We weighted the sample by race and gender. To control for sampling design effects, we used SUDAAN for data analysis. Results: Whites reported higher prevalence than Blacks for current suicidality (5.8% vs 2.3%) and lifetime suicidality (14.8% vs 10.2%). None of the differences were significant. In logistic regression analysis conducted for each race, four variables were associated with suicidality within both races: higher depressive symptom scores, higher anxiety symptom scores, copes by using medications, and lower religiosity. Two variables were associated with suicidality only among Whites: higher use of spiritualists and copes by keeping calm. One variable, greater use of doctors for mental health problems, was significant only among Blacks. Implications: There were no racial differences in the prevalence of suicidality. Virtually all of the factors associated with suicidality are potentially ameliorable. Among both racial groups, suicidality is likely to be impacted by addressing depressive and anxiety symptoms and, when appropriate, by encouraging various coping strategies, especially religiosity.
Descriptors: African Americans, Incidence, Suicide, Racial Differences, Coping, Whites, Urban Areas, Comparative Analysis, Older Adults, Psychological Patterns, Epidemiology, Interviews, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Depression (Psychology), Mental Health, Anxiety, Drug Therapy, Religious Factors, Mental Disorders
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York