Suicidality in African American Men: The Roles of Southern Residence, Religiosity, and Social Support

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Abstract

The rise in suicide by African Americans in the United States is directly attributable to the dramatic, nearly three-fold increase in suicide rates of African American males. Gibbs (1997) hypothesized high social support, religiosity, and southern residence are protective factors against suicidality for Black people. This hypothesis was tested among 5,125 participants from the National Comorbidity Survey; 299 were African American males. In this study we hypothesized that there would be significantly lower suicidality in the South, and social support and religiosity would mediate this relationship. Our results indicate that Southern region is indeed a significant predictor of suicidal symptoms in African American men, such that suicidal symptoms were lower in the South, but religiosity and social support did not account for this effect. Other potential mediators were also examined.

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