Friday, October 31, 2014

Suicidal Ideation: Racial Differences in Risk and Protective Factors among Men in Late-Life

Tracey L. Phillips, Fielding's School of Psychology

Late-life suicide in the United States is a growing concern, yet little attention has been given to the considerable differences in suicide rates between elderly Caucasian and Black American men. This study examined the influence of race, age, and marital status on suicidal ideation as mediated by reasons for living, loneliness, perceived burdensomeness, and thwarted belongingness. In a sample of 120 community-dwelling men aged 65 and older, results indicated that age was not a significant predictor of suicidal ideation; race and marital status were predictors of suicidal ideation through intervening variables reasons for living and perceived burdensomeness, respectively. Black men had more reasons for living related to responsibility to family, moral obligations, and child-related concerns in comparison to Caucasian men. Loneliness and thwarted belongingness were related to marital status, but had no direct or indirect relationship with suicidal ideation. These findings have implications for understanding the risk and protective factors that may benefit suicide prevention efforts and treatment of men in late-life.

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