A Cross-National Comparison of Suicide Attempts, Drug Use, and Depressed Mood Among Dominican Youth

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Abstract

We compared suicide attempts, depressed mood, and drug use of 1,710 Dominican public high school students in New York City (NYC) and 9,573 in the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2009. Compared to DR Dominicans, NYC Dominicans were more likely to have reported lifetime marijuana use (27.6% vs. 1.5%), lifetime inhalant use (11.0% vs. 7.6%), lifetime other drug use (9.9% vs. 3.0%), depressed mood (31.3% vs. 27.2%), and suicide attempt (13.8% vs. 8.8%). The results of this study supported the hypothesis that substantial increases in illicit drug use, especially cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamines, among NYC Dominican youth account for their increased risk for suicide attempts compared to their DR Dominican counterparts. It also identified suicide attempts as a public health problem among NYC Dominicans, the largest NYC Latino immigrant population.

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