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US-born Asian-American women more likely to think about, attempt suicide
Date:8/17/2009

Although Asian-Americans as a group have lower rates of thinking about and attempting suicide than the national average, U.S.-born Asian-American women seem to be particularly at risk for suicidal behavior, according to new University of Washington research.

The study shows 15.93 percent of U.S.-born Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime, exceeding national estimates of 13.5 percent for all Americans. The finding comes in a study published in the current issue of the journal Archives of Suicide Research. Lifetime estimates of suicide attempts also were higher among U.S-born Asian-American women than the general population, 6.29 percent vs. 4.6 percent.

Data from the study were drawn from the larger National Latino and Asian-American Study and were based on bilingual interviews with almost 2,100 individuals at least 18 years of age. Two-thirds were immigrants from Asia and women made up 53 percent of the respondents. Participants included 600 Chinese, 520 Vietnamese, 508 Filipinos and 467 other Asians, including Japanese, Koreans and Asian Indians.

"It is unclear why Asian-Americans who were born in the United States have higher rates of thinking about and attempting suicide," said Aileen Duldulao, a UW doctoral student in social work and lead author of the study. "There is the theory of the 'healthy immigrant' that proposes immigrants may be healthier on average than U.S-born Americans, because of the selectivity of migration or the retention of culturally-based behaviors. But it is unclear if this theory is the mechanism at work with regard to our findings."

Evidence supporting this idea was previously found among Mexican-American and Latino American immigrants. However, Duldulao said, the health of immigrants tends to decline with the number of years they spend in the U.S. and start adopting behaviors that are less healthy than those found in their homeland.

The suicide data echo a 2006 study that
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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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