There has been an increase in literature that addresses risks associated with suicide vulnerability and death for American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Black American, and Hispanic American adults. However, much more definitive work is needed. In comparison to previous decades, research in the area of ethnic minority suicide may have lost some momentum for certain racial/ethnic groups. As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diverse, the need for advanced research efforts regarding the full spectrum of suicide behavior grows increasingly urgent.
Objective: To provide a summary of putative risk factors and plausible protective factors highlighting both unique and common factors for American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Black American, and Hispanic American adults. The dearth of literature is also addressed by the proposition of emergent needs in the study of ethnic minority suicide. Further, we will examine the ways in which the last decade of research has expanded suicide science as well as areas that have been understudied.
Conclusions: A review of empirical studies and conceptual reports published in the last decade revealed common trends associated with suicide across ethnic groups, including sociodemographic variables, psychiatric risks, cultural factors, and factors related to interpersonal relations. Ethnic minority groups also shared notable protective factors, such as religious and spiritual beliefs, and familial ties. Suggested directions for future research include the examination of individual subgroups within ethnic communities as well as the exploration of understudied correlates that show promising evidence as influential to suicidal behavior. Additionally, factors that lead to suicide attempts for American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, Black American, and Hispanic American adults remain relatively unexamined.
Keywords: African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Black American, ethnic minority, Hispanic American, suicide, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, risk factors, protective factors.