Suicide is a leading cause of death among young adults; however, contextual risks and cultural factors are rarely studied in the context of ethnic minority suicidal ideation (SI) and suicidal attempt (SA). This study assessed the association between familial incarceration and suicide behaviors and examined ethnic identity as a potential moderator. Data from a longitudinal study of health among Hispanics (n = 1,094) in California were used to test associations between familial incarceration, ethnic identity, and SA and SI, adjusting for demographic factors and covariates. Approximately 18% and 8% of respondents reported SI and SA, respectively. Compared to no incarceration, or the incarceration of a relative, parental incarceration was associated with higher odds (AOR: 2.09, 95% CI: 1.23–3.34) of SI whereas higher affective ethnic identity reduced the odds (AOR: 0.52, 95% CI: 0.31–0.89) of SA. Ethnic identity moderated the association between parental incarceration and SI (AOR: 0.33, 95% CI: 0.13–0.79). Incarceration of a family member can set the stage for exclusion from critical institutions and can have long-term consequences for adult mental health. Promoting a positive ethnic identity may be a promising prevention strategy that could bolster resilience among at-risk, urban minority youth.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA016310).
© 2019 Society for Community Research and Action
- Ethnic identity
- Familial incarceration
- Suicide behaviors
- Young adults