Racial/Ethnic Discrimination as Race-Based Trauma and Suicide-Related Risk in Racial/Ethnic Minority Young Adults: The Explanatory Roles of Stress Sensitivity and Dissociation

Lillian Polanco-Roman, Regina Miranda, Denise Hien, Deidre M. Anglin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Drawing on race-based trauma models, the present study examined common reactions to trauma exposure (i.e., stress sensitivity, dissociative symptoms, depressive symptoms), as potential explanatory factors in the relation between racial/ethnic discrimination and suicide-related risk among racial and ethnic minority young adults. Method: A group of racial and ethnic minority (N = 747; 61%women; 63% U.S.-born; 34% Asian American) young adults, ages 18–29 (M = 19.84; SD = 2.22), completed a battery of self-report measures online. Accounting for demographics and other trauma exposures, direct and indirect associations between racial/ethnic discrimination and suicide attempt (SA) through stress sensitivity, dissociative symptoms, depressive symptoms, and suicide ideation (SI) were examined using hierarchical linear regression models and bootstrapping methods. Results: There was a direct association between racial/ethnic discrimination and stress sensitivity, dissociative symptoms, and depressive symptoms, but not SI or SA, after accounting for demographics and trauma exposures. There was also an indirect association between racial/ethnic discrimination and SI and SA through stress sensitivity, dissociative symptoms, and depressive symptoms. Conclusion: Experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination may function as a source of traumatic stress in racial and ethnic minority young adults to confer risk for SI and SA via stress sensitivity, dissociation, and depressive symptoms. Addressing racial/ethnic discrimination may help reduce suicide-related risk by targeting stress-related exposures particularly relevant to racial and ethnic minority young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-767
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Keywords

  • dissociation
  • racial/ethnic discrimination
  • stress sensitivity
  • suicide attempt
  • young adults

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