Document Type : Original Article
1 Department of Family Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2 Department of Urban Public Health, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA, USA
3 Marginalization-Related Diminished Returns (MDRs) Research Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4 Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), Columbia University, New York, NY 10027-5927, USA
5 Columbia University School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027-5927, USA
6 Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH), School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
7 Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA
Background: High income is a protective factor against suicidality for children, youth, and adults, however, recent research has documented weaker health effects of high income for Black than White individuals, a pattern also called marginalization-related diminished returns (MDRs).
Objectives: In this study, we tested racial variation in the association between high income and suicidality in a national sample of 9-10-year-old Black and White American children.
Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which included 7298 White or Black children between the ages of 9 and 10. Of all the participants, 5652 were White and 1646 were Black. The predictor variable was family income, treated as a continuous measure. Race was the moderator. The outcome variable was suicidality, treated as a dummy variable, reflecting any positive suicidal thoughts or behaviors endorsed over the lifecourse. Covariates included sex, age, family structure (parental marital status), parental education, trauma, history of depression, neighborhood poverty, and family conflict. Logistic regression was used for data analysis.
Results: Overall, family income was inversely associated with children’s suicidality, net of all covariates. A statistically significant interaction was found between race and family income, suggesting that the inverse association between family income and suicidality is weaker in Black than White children.
Conclusion: The observed weaker association between income and suicidality in Black than White children suggests that family income does not provide the same protection against suicidality for Black as White children. Due to racism, income and some other socioeconomic status indicators show weaker than expected health effects on Black families in the US.