Ten year trends in suicidality, bullying, and gun carrying among U.S. Latino youth


  • A. Romero
  • S. Bauman
  • M. Borgström
  • S.E. Kim


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate trends in bullying, gun carrying, and suicidality over 10 years in a nationally representative sample of Latina/o youth. Our study was guided by the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide to understand how thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness and acquired capacity for self-harm contribute to suicide attempts. Methods: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey subsample of Latina/o youth (N=13,378) from 2005-2015 is examined for suicide attempts, bullying, and gun carrying. Findings: Overall, suicide attempts for females declined slightly; there was no significant change over time for males. Females, compared to males, reported significantly higher rates of suicide attempts, victimization by bullying, and victimization by cyberbullying, and lower rates of gun carrying. Gun carrying was significantly associated with greater likelihood of suicide attempts for both boys and girls. Discussion: Latino/a adolescents report the highest rates of suicide attempts and depressive symptoms compared to White and African American youth for over 40 years. Our results demonstrate that suicidality varies by gender; Latina girls report higher rates of suicide attempts, depressive symptoms, and bullying. Latino young men who reported being cyberbullied were also more likely to carry a gun. Implications for gun carrying as a risk factor for suicidality are discussed for Latino males, and in relation to cyberbullying. There is a continued need for innovative methods to address bullying through widespread and effective campaigns that consider the intersectionality of ethnicity and gender of youth.





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