Racial Misclassification Masks True Prevalence of Suicide in South Asian Americans
Aruna Jha, Manik Ahuja, Rajvi J. Wani, Anil Methipara, Jennifer Anderson

This research study is the first U.S effort to quantify and describe suicide among South Asian Americans (SAAs), an underrepresented group in mental health research. Since the creation of the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor, an important economic center, DuPage County, IL is home to a large SAA population. Following federal recommendations for disaggregating Asian American data and studying small minority populations at a granular level, 4 SAA researchers collaborated on this project. Name recognition identified 38 SAAs classified as suicides in the DuPage County coroner‘s database from 2001-2017. Coroner‘s reports were analyzed for contextual details and correlating factors specific to each suicide. We found errors in racial classification of SAAs with most cases listed as ―White‖ or ―Other.‖ After correction of race and ethnicity, age-adjusted suicide rates for SAAs in Du Page County, IL were higher than the Centers for Disease Control‘s national suicide rates for Whites, Blacks and Asian Americans. Methods of suicide, contextual triggers, and familial responses to the suicides reflected a preference for cultural patterns common in South Asia.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jswhr.v9n2a1