Neighborhood belonging and thoughts of death among Hispanics in the United States
Silva, C., Douglas, N., & Van Orden, K.
Objective: Suicide rates among Hispanics in the United States have steadily risen over the last 2 decades, especially among youth and adults in midlife. Social disconnection (low belonging) is associated with suicidal ideation; however, little is known about the demographic and social factors that impact a sense of belonging among Hispanic adults in midlife. The current study sought to examine (a) the association between demographic and social factors (acculturative stress, community integration and engagement, religiosity, ethnic cohesion) and neighborhood belonging as well as (b) whether neighborhood belonging is associated with passive suicide ideation (thoughts of death) among a community sample of Hispanic adults. Method: This study uses a sample of 968 Hispanic adults in midlife, from Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Dominican backgrounds, from the Midlife in the United Sates (MIDUS): Survey of Minority Groups. Results: Overall, community integration, religiosity, and community engagement were unique positive predictors of neighborhood belonging; lifetime number of discrete events of discrimination was the only unique negative predictor. Among foreign-born respondents, community integration, community engagement, and discrimination were associated with neighborhood belonging, whereas, among U.S.-born respondents, only religiosity and community were associated with belonging. Neighborhood belonging was the only variable negatively associated with thoughts of death among depressed participants. Conclusion: Fostering a sense of neighborhood belonging among Hispanic adults-particularly via promoting community engagement-may help decrease suicide risk.HIGHLIGHTSIntegration, engagement, and religiosity positively predicted belonging in Hispanic adultsLifetime events of discrimination was the only negative predictor of neighborhood belongingLower neighborhood belonging was associated with thoughts of death among depressed participants.