The principal objective of the proposed research is to understand suicide risk among Puerto Rican adolescents. Depressive symptoms, coping style, social support, self-esteem, hopelessness, stress appraisal and psychopathology will be the explanatory variables of the study. In Puerto Rico, suicide is among the first causes of violent deaths in the age group of 15 to 34. Although research on suicide behavior in mainstream populations in the United States has increased during the last few decades, in Puerto Rican and Hispanic populations research is scarce. It?s essential to identify factors associated to suicide risk in Latino adolescents and elaborate causal models in order to develop effective preventive interventions and treatment for this population. Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders manifested in Puerto Rican adolescents. Taking into consideration the strong relationship between suicide behavior and depression and the increased risk and incidence of suicide behavior at this age level in Puerto Rico, especial attention must be paid to suicide behavior in this population.
The specific aims of the proposed research are divided in two phases. During Phase I, I plan to identify factors which contribute to high suicide risk considering the following: depressive symptomatology, coping style, social support, self-esteem, hopelessness, stress appraisal, and psychopathology. During Phase II, the focus will be on developing a causal model to explain vulnerability to suicide risk based on the previously identified variables associated to high suicide risk. The proposed study is a cross-sectional survey of Puerto Rican adolescents. It will survey a community sample consisting of at least three hundred students from 13 to 18 years old from two public schools and two private schools on the Metropolitan Area of San Juan. Several instruments will be administered to the sample. The instruments include: (1) Scale for the Identification of Adolescent Suicide Risk (IRSA), (2) Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire- Junior (SIQ-JR), (3) Children?s Depression Inventory (CDI), (4) Behavior Checklist for Adolescents (CBCL-A), (5) Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experience (A-COPE), (6) Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), (7) Piers Harris Children?s Self-Concept Scale (PHCSCS) (8) Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and (9) Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). To analyze the information obtained from the self-report instruments, different statistical analyses will be carried out.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-6 (01))
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Altman, Fred
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University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Juan
United States
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