Uncovering the Mystery: Factors of African American Suicide

Academic Article


  • Traditionally, African Americans have registered lower rates of suicide than other ethnic groups. In the last 20 years this pattern has changed, particularly among young African Americans. To date, the research conducted regarding this phenomenon has been limited for a variety of reasons and previous research has been inconclusive in determining risk factors of African American suicide. The purpose of this paper is to identify risk and protective factors specific to African American suicide. To determine the factors, the 1993 National Mortality Follow-back Survey was analyzed. The risk factors identified include being under age 35, southern and northeastern residence, cocaine use, firearm presence in home, and threatening others with violence. Some of the protective factors associated with African American suicide include rural residence and educational attainment. These results provide valuable information about completed African American suicides in relation to Whites. Several of these factors are unique to African Americans.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 10499603
  • Author List

  • Willis LA; Coombs DW; Drentea P; Cockerham WC
  • Start Page

  • 412
  • End Page

  • 429
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 4