Health and Wellness : Research connects discrimination, thoughts of death among African-Americans

Liberty

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Racial discrimination, whether it's derogatory language or unequal treatment, impacts communities and individuals in different ways. For children, the effects are sometimes emotional scars, and as a University of Houston researcher discovered, even thoughts of death.

UH psychology professor Rheeda Walker was the lead researcher on the study "A Longitudinal Study of Racial Discrimination and Risk for Death Ideation in African-American Youth." It soon will be published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and can be viewed online.

Walker used data previously collected from interviews with 722 African-American children recruited from schools in Georgia and Iowa. These boys and girls were interviewed at age 10 and again at age 12. In her analysis, Walker noted that more than one-third of the adolescents reported death ideation, or thoughts of death or dying. This ideation was accounted for in part by experiences of racial discrimination. Although thoughts of taking one's life were rarely expressed or asked about during interviews, Walker indicated that death ideation can be a predictor of suicide. Her findings may assist in drawing attention to students in crisis, as recent studies have found an increased number of suicides by African-American children. Walker addressed this issue in a recent online op-ed for Ebony magazine.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoh-rcd062416.php
 

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