Suicide: Why are Young Latinas at Risk?

Francisca AbreuA national survey of high school students sheds like on a trend that the Hispanic community has long been aware of. Compared to black and white males and females, high-school-aged Latinas are the most likely to attempt suicide and to experience long bouts of depression.  Other studies show young Latinas also have the highest teen birthrates and the second highest high school dropout rate. Researchers contend that “cultural clashes with parents, social isolation, and poverty” are part of the problem.

Listen to a discussion of the reasons why young Latinas are at risk from the NPR program, “Talk of the Nation.”  Which social or cultural factors do you think make young Latinas especially vulnerable to depression and suicide?  (Are such factors or conditions prevalent in other communities.  How do men fit into this picture?) How would Durkheim assess these risk factors?  Would you say they are indicators of anomie and/or egoism?

 

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3 responses to “Suicide: Why are Young Latinas at Risk?

  1. Durkheim would consider the young Latinas suicide rate as anomie. Anomie suicide refers to the lack of moral regulation. It is the pathological result of a lack of moral direction, when one feels morally adrift. Latinos for the most part are Catholics. As we know there is a high rate of white male who are Protestants who commit suicide, but why are these Catholic Latinas committing suicide at an alarming rate, since there is so much support and collectiveness in the Catholic church during worship and other spiritual gathering? Keep in mind Catholics don’t believe in abortion, birth control nor premarital sex. Often these Latina girls are often first generation american born. The pressure they are under is astounding. They have to adhere to their religion and the guilt that comes with that. Being an interpreter for their parents or even the whole language barrier they often face is isolating, Also the whole machismo male dominance of the Hispanic community, which leads to teen domestic violence, which is prevalent to that culture. Add to the aforementioned, Latinos are on the low end of the socioeconomic and educational ladder. Unlike Asians, whose parents apply pressure with all good intentions upon their children to academically succeed, the same pressure is not applied to the Latina. Also with the Asian culture reputation is important. One of the worst things a child or any family member can do is to shame the family. In the Hispanic community, such pressures are not as prevalent or important. When a baby comes, it’s welcomed. The baby adds pressure, lack of education ostracizes the Latina from her peers. Weight is another issue in the Hispanic culture, like African American women, hispanic woman battle with the bulge as well, which adds pressure and isolation. The western standard of beauty does not help the matter. All of these pressures, cultural traditions, society pressures and rules, peer pressure and of course, let’s not forget racism and sexism all contributes to suicide among Latinas. Durkheim would classify the high suicide rate as Anomie. These young girls have been thrust into more social pressure that can mentally break an adult, no less a child. The feeling of being anchorless from peers and society can also contribute to suicide. The feelings that these young girls get of not knowing what to do and how to act is a state of “anomie.”. .

  2. I think Durkheim would say that many of these young Latina females are committing anomic suicides. Culturally, many of these girls are expected to have a motherly role at such an young age and are being limited to many social activities. Most of these girls, who have first or second generation parents, might have become rebellious because of the pressure of following the ways of Catholicism. These Latina girls are also vulnerable to depression and suicide because of the difficulties of deciding which path to follow, since their stuck in the view of Americans and their culture.

  3. A majority of Latino families illegally cross borders from Mexico to America to start a new life from poverty. Due to lack of immigration papers forces them to do work odd minimum wage jobs instead of working decent paying jobs. The standard of living in these families are very low; its born in these type of families. They have less resources which can affect their children in their lives and education. Children have less resources and are forced to leave high school so that they can help their parents earn a better living. Teenage Latina girls have a higher chance of becoming teenage mothers due to low self-esteem. Since they lack resources, they believe that having children will fill a void in their lives. However, this will continue poverty because the mother lacks resources and education which will affect the fate of the next generation. Because of the low standards of living, families suffer depression which will conclude to suicide. Durkheim first mentions “the concept of anomie in the division of labor in society” but he develops the idea more better in suicide. In my opinion, Durkeims concept of anomie relates to latino families suicide and teen pregnancy rates.

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