Background: Perceived discrimination (PD) is a risk factor of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB) for children, youth, and adults. However, it is unknown whether the association between PD and STB frequency differs between African American (AA) and Non-Hispanic White children.
Objectives: In this study, we compared AA and non-Latino White children for the association between PD and STB frequency in a national sample of 9-10-year-old American children.
Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which included 7883 non-Latino White or AA children between the ages of 9 and 10. The predictor variable was frequency of PDs. Race was the moderator. The outcome variable was STB frequency, treated as a count variable, reflecting positive STB items endorsed over the life-course. Covariates included sex, age, marital status, household income, parental education, parental employment, trauma, and economic difficulties. Poisson regression was used for data analysis.
Results: Of all the participants, 5994 were non-Latino Whites, and 1889 were AAs. Overall, PD frequency was positively associated with STB frequency. A statistically significant interaction was found between race and PD, suggesting that the association between PD and STB frequency is weaker in AA than non-Latino White children.
Conclusion: The observed weaker association between PDs frequency and STB frequency in AA than non-Latino White children suggests that PD may be a less salient risk factor of STB frequency for AA than non-Latino White children. Researchers should explore factors other than PD for suicide prevention of AA children in the US.