Hispanic Female Adolescents at Risk for Suicide and the Use of Illicit Drugs

Cecily Luncheon M.D., M.P.H., University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth

Abstract

Luncheon, Cecily. M.D., M.P.H. Hispanic Female Adolescents at Risk for Suicide and the Use of Illicit Drugs. Doctor of Public Health, Fall 2006, 88 p.p., 31 tables, bibliography, 77 titles. This study examines the hypothesis that Latina adolescents in high school who were at risk for suicide are more likely to use illicit drugs than Non-Latinas in high school who are at risk for suicide. Data was analyzed from the 2003 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavioral Survey. A national sample of 9th-12th grades students participated in a self-administrated questionnaire at school. The study who conducted based on 6,826 Hispanic/Latinas, black, non-Hispanic and white, non-Hispanic female adolescents. Three at risk for suicide, nine frequent illicit drugs and three controlling variables were chosen to conduct the study. Chi-square test assessed the significant of difference between races and binary logistic regression models were utilized to estimate the association between at risk for suicide and drug use. Among the three race/ethnicities who were at risk for suicide, Hispanic/Latinas had the highest drug use prevalence. The first logistic regression model that seriously consider attempting suicide were associated with Latinas (OR= 1/0.68 [95% CI, 1/0.53-1/0/87]), suburban youth (1.28 [1.02-1.63]), marijuana (1.79 [1.49-2.16]), inhalants (2.58 [1/46-3.28]), and steroids without MD’s prescription (1.98 [1.32-2.99]). The second logistic regression model established that those who made a suicide plan were associated with Latinas (OR=1/0.66 [95% CI, 1/0.48-1/0.91]), marijuana (1.40 [1.00-1.95]), inhalants (3.18 [2.05-3.79]), methamphetamines (2.21 [1.42-3.76]), and used a needle to inject any illegal drug (4.24 [1.29-12.66]). While the third logistic regression model found that attempted suicide were associated with Latinas (OR= 1/0.67 [95% CI, 1/0.48-1/0.94]), 11th and 12th grades (0.66 [0.46-0.94]) and (0.40 [0.27-0.60]), marijuana 2.50 [1.99-3.16]), cocaine (1.67 [1.09-2.58]), inhalants (2.69 [1.89-3.82]), methamphetamines, taken steroids without MD’s prescription (1.95 [1.12-3.40]) and used a needle to inject any illegal drug (4.30 [1.16-15.87]). Greater awareness about the physical and mental health status of Latinas are needed to ensure that good mental health programs are available for Latina adolescents.