Advertisement

The Changing Characteristics of African-American Adolescent Suicides, 2001–2017

  • James H. PriceEmail author
  • Jagdish Khubchandani
Original Paper
  • 30 Downloads

Abstract

African-American (AA) adolescents (13–19 years of age) have disproportionately higher rates of suicide. In this study, to explore the nature of suicidal deaths and suicide attempts in African- American adolescents, we utilized the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) and the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) database from years 2001 to 2017. The rate of AA male suicides increased by 60% and for AA females increased by 182% from 2001 to 2017. Suicides were the second leading cause of death for AA adolescents. Additionally, in 2017 alone, 68,528 AA males and 94,760 AA females made suicide attempts serious enough that they had to be treated by health professionals. Males were most likely to use firearms (52%) or to hang/suffocate themselves (34%) to commit suicide. Females used hanging/suffocation (56%) or firearms (21%) to commit suicides. The ten states with the greatest number of AA adolescent suicides (2015–2017) were: Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Missouri. There is an urgent need to further explore the changing nature and epidemiology of AA adolescent suicides and to study for whom and under what circumstances interventions can reduce suicides and suicidal behaviors in AA adolescents.

Keywords

Suicide Violence African-American Injury Firearms 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

References

  1. 1.
    Bridge, J. A., Horowitz, L. M., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., Greenhouse, J., Kelleher, K. J., et al. (2018). Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youths from 2001 through 2015. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(7), 697–699.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1998). Suicide among black youths–United States, 1980–1995. MMWR: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 47(10), 193–196.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joe, S., Baser, R. S., Neighbors, H. W., Caldwell, C. H., & Jackson, J. S. (2009). 12-Month and lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among black adolescents in the National Survey of American Life. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(3), 271–282.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bridge, J. A., Asti, L., Horowitz, L. M., Greenhouse, J. B., Fontanella, C. A., Sheftall, A. H., et al. (2015). Suicide trends among elementary school–aged children in the United States from 1993 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics, 169(7), 673–677.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sheftall, A. H., Asti, L., Horowitz, L. M., Felts, A., Fontanella, C. A., Campo, J. V., et al. (2016). Suicide in elementary school-aged children and early adolescents. Pediatrics, 138, e20160436.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-0436.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Joe, S., & Kaplan, M. S. (2001). Suicide among African American men. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 31, 106–121.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Price, J. H., & Khubchandani, J. (2017). Adolescent homicides, suicides, and the role of firearms: A narrative review. American Journal of Health Education, 48(2), 67–79.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Riddell, C. A., Harper, S., Cerdá, M., & Kaufman, J. S. (2018). Comparison of rates of firearm and nonfirearm homicide and suicide in black and white non-hispanic men, by US state. Annals of Internal Medicine, 168(10), 712–720.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gee, G. C., Hing, A., Mohammed, S., Tabor, D. C., & Williams, D. R. (2019). Racism and the life course: Taking time seriously. American Journal of Public Health, 109(S1), S43–S47.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Fatal and non-fatal injury data. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Retrieved February 28, 2019, from www.cdc.gov.
  11. 11.
    Grunbaum, J. A., Kann, L., Kinchen, S. A., Williams, B., Ross, J. G., Lowry, R., et al. (2002). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2001. Journal of School Health, 72(8), 313–328.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Grunbaum, J. A., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Lowry, R., et al. (2004). Youth risk behavior surveillance–United States, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, DC: 2002), 53(2), 1–96.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., Harris, W. A., et al. (2006). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2005. Journal of School Health, 76(7), 353–372.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., et al. (2008). Youth risk behavior surveillance–United States, 2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries (Washington, DC: 2002), 57(4), 1–131.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Ross, J., Hawkins, J., et al. (2010). Youth risk behavior surveillance-United States, 2009. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 59(5), 1–142.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Eaton, D. K., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., et al. (2012). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 61(4), 1–162.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., Harris, W. A., et al. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 63(4), 1–168.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kann, L., McManus, T., Harris, W. A., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Hawkins, J., et al. (2016). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries (Washington, DC: 2002), 65(6), 1.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kann, L., McManus, T., Harris, W. A., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Queen, B., et al. (2018). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2017. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 67(8), 1.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Khubchandani, J., & Price, J. H. (2018). Violent behaviors, weapon carrying, and firearm homicide trends in African American adolescents, 2001–2015. Journal of Community Health, 43(5), 947–955.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Brener, N. D., Kann, L., Kinchen, S. A., Grunbaum, J. A., Whalen, L., Eaton, D. K., et al. (2004). Methodology of the youth risk behavior surveillance system. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Recommendations and reports/Centers for Disease Control, 53(RR-12), 1–13.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Khubchandani, J., & Price, J. H. (2018). Violence related behaviors and weapon carrying among Hispanic adolescents: Results from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2001–2015. Journal of Community Health, 43(2), 391–399.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Goldsmith, S. K., Pellmar, T. C., Kleinman, A. M., & Bunney, W. E. (2002). Reducing suicide: A national imperative. Washinfton, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Joe, S., Baser, R. E., Breeden, G., Neighbors, H. W., & Jackson, J. S. (2006). Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime suicide attempts among Blacks in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296(17), 2112.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Shenassa, E. D., Catlin, S. N., & Buka, S. L. (2003). Lethality of firearms relative to other suicide methods: A population based study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57(2), 120–124.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Miller, M., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2004). The epidemiology of case fatality rates for suicide in the northeast. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 43(6), 723–730.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Parker, K., Horowitz, J., Igielnik, R., Oliphant, B., & Brown, A. (2017). America’s complex relationship with guns: An in-depth look at the attitudes and experiences of US adults. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Prickett, K. C., Gutierrez, C., & Deb, S. (2019). Family firearm ownership and firearm-related mortality among young children: 1976–2016. Pediatrics, 143(2), e20181171.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Miller, M., Lippmann, S. J., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2007). Household firearm ownership and rates of suicide across the 50 United States. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 62(4), 1029–1035.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Miller, M., Azrael, D., Hepburn, L., Hemenway, D., & Lippmann, S. J. (2006). The association between changes in household firearm ownership and rates of suicide in the United States, 1981–2002. Injury Prevention, 12(3), 178–182.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Webster, D. W., Vernick, J. S., Zeoli, A. M., & Manganello, J. A. (2004). Association between youth-focused firearm laws and youth suicides. Journal of the American Medical Association, 292(5), 594–601.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Johnson, R. M., Barber, C., Azrael, D., Clark, D. E., & Hemenway, D. (2010). Who are the owners of firearms used in adolescent suicides? Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 40(6), 609–611.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Conner, A., Azrael, D., & Miller, M. (2018). Public opinion about the relationship between firearm availability and suicide: Results from a national survey. Annals of Internal Medicine, 168(2), 153–155.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Choi, N. G., DiNitto, D. M., & Marti, C. N. (2017). Youth firearm suicide: Precipitating/risk factors and gun access. Children and Youth Services Review, 83, 9–16.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Fowler, K. A., Dahlberg, L. L., Haileyesus, T., Gutierrez, C., & Bacon, S. (2017). Childhood firearm injuries in the United States. Pediatrics, 140(1), e20163486.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ambrose, A. J. H., & Prager, L. M. (2018). Suicide evaluation in the pediatric emergency setting. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 27(3), 387–397.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Shain, B. (2016). Suicide and suicide attempts in adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(1), e20161420.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Bridge, J. A., Goldstein, T. R., & Brent, D. A. (2006). Adolescent suicide and suicidal behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3–4), 372–394.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Chu, J. P., Goldblum, P., Floyd, R., & Bongar, B. (2010). The cultural theory and model of suicide. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 14(1–4), 25–40.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Compton, M., Thompson, N., & Kaslow, N. (2005). Social environment factors associated with suicide attempt among low-income African Americans: The protective role of family relationships and social support. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 40(3), 175–185.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Day-Vines, N. L. (2007). The escalating incidence of suicide among African Americans: Implications for counselors. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85(3), 370–377.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Gassman-Pines, A., Ananat, E. O., & Gibson-Davis, C. M. (2014). Effects of statewide job losses on adolescent suicide-related behaviors. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 1964–1970.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Griffin-Fennell, F., & Williams, M. (2006). Examining the complexities of suicidal behavior in the African American community. Journal of Black Psychology, 32(3), 303–319.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Merchant, C., Kramer, A., Joe, S., Venkataraman, S., & King, C. A. (2009). Predictors of multiple suicide attempts among suicidal Black adolescents. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 39(2), 115–124.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Molock, S. D., Puri, R., Matlin, S., & Barksdale, C. (2006). Relationship between religious coping and suicidal behaviors among African American adolescents. Journal of Black Psychology, 32(3), 366–389.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Price, J. H., Dake, J. A., & Kucharewski, R. (2001). Assets as predictors of suicide attempts in African American inner-city youths. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25(4), 367–375.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Willis, L. A., Coombs, D. W., Drentea, P., & Cockerham, W. C. (2003). Uncovering the mystery: Factors of African American suicide. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 33(4), 412–429.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Belsher, B. E., Smolenski, D. J., Pruitt, L. D., Bush, N. E., Beech, E. H., Workman, D. E., et al. (2019). Prediction models for suicide attempts and deaths: A systematic review and simulation. JAMA Psychiatry.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0174.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Naureckas, S. M., Galanter, C., Naureckas, E. T., Donovan, M., & Christoffel, K. K. (1995). Children’s and women’s ability to fire handguns. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 149(12), 1318–1322.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Telljohann, S. K., & Price, J. H. (1994). A preliminary investigation of inner city primary grade students’ perceptions of guns. Journal of Health Education, 25(1), 41–46.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Morrall, A. (2018). The science of gun policy: A critical synthesis of research evidence on the effects of gun policies in the United States. Rand Health Quarterly, 8(1), 5.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sheats, K. J., Irving, S. M., Mercy, J. A., Simon, T. R., Crosby, A. E., Ford, D. C., et al. (2018). Violence-related disparities experienced by Black youth and young adults: Opportunities for prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55(4), 462–469.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Barnes, D. M., & Bates, L. M. (2017). Do racial patterns in psychological distress shed light on the Black-White depression paradox? A systematic review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52(8), 913–928.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Ghandour, R. M., Sherman, L. J., Vladutiu, C. J., Ali, M. M., Lynch, S. E., Bitsko, R. H., et al. (2019). Prevalence and treatment of depression, anxiety, and conduct problems in US children. Journal of Pediatrics, 206, 256–267.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Merikangas, K. R., He, J. P., Burstein, M., Swendsen, J., Avenevoli, S., Case, B., et al. (2011). Service utilization for lifetime mental disorders in US adolescents: results of the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(1), 32–45.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Cummings, J. R., Ji, X., Lally, C., & Druss, B. G. (2019). Racial and ethnic differences in minimally adequate depression care among Medicaid-enrolled youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58(1), 128–138.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Merikangas, K. R., He, J. P., Burstein, M., Swanson, S. A., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., et al. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980–989.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Costello, E. J., He, J. P., Sampson, N. A., Kessler, R. C., & Merikangas, K. R. (2014). Services for adolescents with psychiatric disorders: 12-Month data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent. Psychiatric Services, 65(3), 359–366.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Gould, M. S., Greenberg, T. E. D., Velting, D. M., & Shaffer, D. (2003). Youth suicide risk and preventive interventions: a review of the past 10 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42(4), 386–405.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Miller, D. N., Eckert, T. L., & Mazza, J. J. (2009). Suicide prevention programs in the schools: A review and public health perspective. In Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Cusimano, M. D., & Sameem, M. (2011). The effectiveness of middle and high school-based suicide prevention programmes for adolescents: A systematic review. Injury Prevention, 17(1), 43–49.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Katz, C., Bolton, S. L., Katz, L. Y., Isaak, C., Tilston-Jones, T., Sareen, J., et al. (2013). A systematic review of school-based suicide prevention programs. Depression and Anxiety, 30(10), 1030–1045.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Klimes-Dougan, B., Klingbeil, D. A., & Meller, S. J. (2013). The impact of universal suicide-prevention programs on the help-seeking attitudes and behaviors of youths. Crisis, 34(2), 82.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Robinson, J., Cox, G., Malone, A., Williamson, M., Baldwin, G., Fletcher, K., et al. (2013). A systematic review of school-based interventions aimed at preventing, treating, and responding to suicide-related behavior in young people. Crisis, 34(3), 164.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Joshi, S. V., Hartley, S. N., Kessler, M., & Barstead, M. (2015). School-based suicide prevention: Content, process, and the role of trusted adults and peers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 24(2), 353–370.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Cooper, G. D., Clements, P. T., & Holt, K. (2011). A review and application of suicide prevention programs in high school settings. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(11), 696–702.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Stone, D. M., Holland, K. M., Bartholow, B., Crosby, A. E., Davis, S., & Wilkins, N. (2017). Preventing suicide: A technical package of policies, programs, and practices. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control Prevention.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    King, C. A., Arango, A., & Foster, C. E. (2018). Emerging trends in adolescent suicide prevention research. Current Opinion in Psychology, 22, 89–94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Public HealthUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  2. 2.Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA

Personalised recommendations