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

  1. Comment #3
    In Durkheim’s view, both anomie and egoism can be used to explain why young Hispanic females have the highest rate of attempted suicide. Most of the Hispanics are immigrants, which they lack the sense of belonging to this new environment. Since females develop relationships slightly slower than males, which they might feel lonely and leads to egoistic suicide. There are also some Hispanic females would attempt suicide because they loss of direction in this new unfamiliar surrounding, which leads to anomic suicide.

  2. I found this reading an audio to be surprising. I did not know that young Latina females were the most prone to suicide. After listening to this audio I was exposed to the leading factors of why young Latina females may find themselves in a situation where they are depressed or contemplating suicide. These Latina youth have a cultural conflict where they do not share the same ideas and practices as their parents however they cannot quite assimilate to the American culture as well. I found it interesting that the parents and older Latina generation ignore the discussion of contraceptives such as birth control because the idea is that if it is discussed then the parents assume that the child will become sexually active. As we learn from the audio, the fact of the matter is that many of these youth become sexually active and by not realizing the importance of contraceptive it leads to pregnancy. Also in the audio the key role that Latina mothers play is mentioned. I did not find this surprising because in many other cultures it is the same situation. This being the case, it is suggested that these mothers address the issues that their son especially daughters are facing rather than ignoring it.

  3. Young Latinas have various social conditions that make them vulnerable to self-harm, in the extreme- to attempt suicide. The pressure to marry, be successful in school, figure out their identity between a Latina and an American woman and the social world in which discrimination still very much impacting minorities. As a result young Latinas are the most like to get pregnant, drop out of school and end up in a deep depression. These factors are prevalent in other communities as well, immigrant families struggle between the two cultures. Minorities, mostly people of color; have to overcome the traditional obstacles of surviving in an ever arduous society in addition to prejudice and having to constantly prove themselves.

  4. i agree with @ermy21. i think that all minorities who come to america go through similar obstacles that make it hard for them to adjust. between discrimination and the language barrier alone i would think all minorities would have major issues adjusting to american culture just like the Latinas. although latinas are at the top of the list of people who attempted suicide i think many immigrants go through the same pains of adjustment and experience periods of depression and isolation as well.

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