COMPILED FROM WIRE REPORTS
For the first time, a national scientific study has found a higher suicide rate for Blacks than for Whites of any age group. Suicide rates are almost always lower among Blacks than among Whites of any age.
The study, published in medical journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, and summarized in a New York Times article on Tuesday, found that the suicide rate increased sharply among Black children – to 2.54 from 1.36 per one million children. The rate for White children fell to 0.77 per million from 1.14.
Suicide among children ages 5 to 11 is rare. Researchers blended multiple years of data to get reliable results. The findings, measuring the years 1993 to 2012, were so unexpected that researchers waited for an additional year of data to check them. The trend did not change.
Researchers used national data based on death certificates that listed suicide as the underlying cause.
The study’s authors offered some explanations:
• Black children are more likely to be exposed to violence and traumatic stress;
• Black children are more likely to experience an early onset of puberty, which can increase the risk of depression and impulsive aggression.
• Lower suicide rates for Blacks has often been attributed to strong social networks and family support, religious faith and other cultural factors. The study didn’t determine whether a change in these factors were the cause of the increase.
“Findings highlight a potential racial disparity that warrants attention. Further studies are needed to monitor these emerging trends and identify risk, protective, and precipitating factors relevant to suicide prevention efforts in children younger than 12 years,” the study concluded.
To review the full study, log on to http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2293169.
Information from the New York Times was used to prepare this report.