Suicide in African American Adolescents: Understanding Risk by Studying Resilience

W. La Vome Robinson, Christopher R. Whipple, Kate Keenan, Caleb E. Flack, La Ricka Wingate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Historically, suicide rates for African American adolescents have been low, relative to rates for youth of other racial-ethnic backgrounds. Since 2001, however, suicide rates among African American adolescents have escalated: Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for African American adolescents. This disturbing trend warrants focused research on suicide etiology and manifestation in African American adolescents, along with culturally sensitive and effective prevention efforts. First, we revisit leading suicide theories and their relevance for African American adolescents. Next, we discuss health promotive and protective factors within the context of African American youth development. We also critique the current status of suicide risk assessment and prevention for African American adolescents. Then, we present a heuristic model of suicide risk and resilience for African American adolescents that considers their development within a hegemonic society. Finally, we recommend future directions for African American adolescent suicidology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-385
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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