Mariela Vega


This critical analysis of the literature is a comprehensive review of the available literature on suicide within the Latina/o population. Specifically, the literature was examined in an effort to identify the risk factors that identify Latina/o adolescents as one of the most vulnerable ethnic groups that engage in suicidal behaviors as well as most significant protective factors that shield this group from suicide and suicidal behavior. One hundred ninety-two articles were critically analyzed and evaluated to identify strengths, weakness, and gaps in the literature particularly as it relates to future research. Research findings revealed that although Latina/o adolescents may be less likely than other ethnic groups to die by suicide, Latina/o adolescents, particularly females report higher rates of depression, hopelessness, and engage in more suicidal behaviors. The literature identifies familism, gender roles, generational gap, acculturation, fear of deportation, the migration and immigration process, and other contextual factors (e.g., discrimination) as risk factors that may help provide an explanation for the higher prevalence of these Axis I disorders, including suicidal behaviors among this population. Clinical recommendations include the importance of working with the Latina/o family to improve communication among the adolescent-parent dyad, and help develop a repertoire of skills and community resources for our Latina/o youth. Furthermore, it is vital to educate psychologists and other professionals on the tenets of suicide, the need of early detection, and a thorough assessment of the risk and protective factors among this population.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Hispanic American youth -- Suicidal behavior; Suicide -- United States -- Prevention; Suicide -- Prevention -- Research

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gallardo, Miguel E.;