Acculturation, Familism and Mother–Daughter Relations Among Suicidal and Non-Suicidal Adolescent Latinas

Zayas, Luis H.; Bright, Charlotte L.; Alvarez-Sanchez, Thyria; Cabassa, Leopoldo J.

We examined the role of acculturation, familism and Latina mother–daughter relations in suicide attempts by comparing 65 adolescents with recent suicide attempts and their mothers to 75 teens without any attempts and their mothers. Attempters and non-attempters were similar in acculturation and familistic attitudes but attempters report significantly less mutuality and communication with their mothers than non-attempters. Mothers of attempters reported lower mutuality and communication with their daughters than mothers of non-attempters. Small increments in mutuality decreased the probability of a suicide attempt by 57%. Acculturation and familism do not appear to play major roles in suicide attempts but relational factors may. Instituting school-based psychoeducational groups for young Latinas, particularly in middle school, and their parents, separately and jointly, and focusing on raising effective communication and mutuality between parents and adolescent daughters are important primary prevention strategies.


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Journal of Primary Prevention

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Social Work
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November 12, 2012