This study is the first component of a programmatic research that seeks to: 1) identify risk factors for clearly differentiated suicidal - behaviors (i.e., suicide ideation, suicide plans, suicide attempts) among African American adolescents at three levels: individual, family, and community; 2) identify protective factors against suicidal behaviors at the individual, familial, and community level; and 3) to use the information gained, from this study about risk and protective factors associated with suicidal behaviors to develop interventions in partnership with African American churches. Particular attention will be paid to the role of religiosity, spirituality, and integration into a faith community as protective factors against suicidal behaviors. This study seeks to identify risk and protective factors associated with suicidal behaviors among African American teens. The risk and protective factors are examined at three levels: individual, family, and community. Conduct problems, depression, hopelessness and substance abuse are hypothesized to be the best predictors of suicidal behaviors at the individual level; history of family abuse is hypothesized to be a risk factor at the family level, and exposure to violence in the community and school environments are posited to be risk factors at the community level. Hypothesized protective factors include positive ethnic identity and religious coping at the individual level, supportive families at the family level, and collective efficacy and active church participation at the community level. Gender differences on risk and protective factors will be explored; we will also see d there are different risk and protective factors for subgroups engaging in parasuicidal behaviors (e.g., suicide ideators vs. suicide attempters). The proposed study will use a correlation design. Three hundred forty-two African American adolescents in grades 10-1 2 will be recruited from predominantly black high schools in a metropolitan area on the East Coast. Students will respond to a series of questionnaires that take approximately 90 minutes to complete. To facilitate building liaisons between the school system and local churches, schools that are selected will be located in close proximity to a community church. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses will be conducted with set-wide entry of data (i.e., at the individual, family, and community level) to test the hypothesized relationships. Logistic regression analyses will be conducted to ascertain which set of individual, family, and community factors, serve as risk or protective factors for subgroups of parasuicidal behaviors. This information will be used to develop future research that is designed to develop community-based interventions in African American churches to ameliorate the growing rate of suicidal behaviors in the African American community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-1 (01))
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Nottelmann, Editha
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George Washington University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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