Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski

Abstract

Problem. Hispanic adolescent suicide attempts appear to have been understudied, while suicidal behavior continues to be a concern as a youthful phenomenon. The present study sought to contribute to the understanding of Hispanic youth suicide and its association with acculturation, family, religion, and gender in a sample of Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist adolescents.

Method. The data used for this study came from the Avance survey, the largest denominational survey conducted among Hispanic Seventh-day Adventists in the U.S. (1993-1994). The sample consisted of 869 adolescents, comprised of 380 males and 489 females. Chi-square, t test for means of two independent samples, and discriminant analyses were used to examine acculturation, family, religion, and gender to identify characteristics of Hispanic SDA suicide attempters.

Results. The results indicated that several variables were significantly correlated with suicide attempts (p < .05): family cohesion, parental religiosity, abuse (verbal, physical, and sexual), faith maturity, church climate, and family status. Furthermore, the discriminant function was statistically significant (p < .05). The function indicated that an Hispanic who perceived less family cohesion, was highly acculturated, perceived a less warm church climate, was female, and who had suffered sexual and physical abuse was more likely to have attempted suicide.

Conclusions. There are some characteristics that seem to influence Hispanic SDA adolescents to attempt suicide. However, caution must be exerted so as to not draw definite conclusions from this study to other Hispanic populations. More studies among Hispanics are needed in this field.

Subject Area

Teenagers--Suicidal behavior, Hispanic American teenagers--Suicidal behavior.

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