Cultural Aspects of Suicidality Among Youth

  • Neha SharmaEmail author
  • Andres J. Pumariega


Suicide in any culture or society is associated with distress and loss and particularly so with youth suicide given the unfulfilled life and future being lost. However, suicide differs widely across cultures in how frequently it occurs, how openly it is dealt with, which explanatory spiritual and religious beliefs are associated, and the interpersonal and individual context within which it occurs. This chapter provides an introduction to suicidality and suicide within a cultural context, a review of basic terminology to use in this discussion, and a cross section of religious and cultural beliefs across populations. The rising patterns of racial ethnic disparities around suicidality within the United States are introduced with some initial consideration of associated risk factors.


Suicide Suicidality Race Ethnicity Culture Religion Spirituality Disparities 





Asian-American/Pacific Islanders


American Indian/Alaskan Native


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV


Major depressive disorder


Mental health


National Comorbidity Survey Replication-Adolescent Supplement


Non-Hispanic White


National Survey on Drug Use and Health


Oppositional defiant disorder


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Suicidal ideation



The authors would like to thank Grace Yoon for being dedicated to underserved youth who experience healthcare disparities. She contributed her valuable time and energy by researching different topics for the chapters and helping us materialize drafts into final version. This project would not have been successful without her support.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryTufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryCooper Medical School of Rowan University and Cooper Health SystemCamdenUSA

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