Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 34–42 | Cite as

Immigrant Density, Sense of Community Belonging, and Suicidal Ideation Among Racial Minority and White Immigrants in Canada

  • Stephen W. Pan
  • Richard M. Carpiano
Original Paper


Immigrants represent a substantial proportion of suicides in Canada. This study assesses the hypothesis that high immigrant density fosters personal sense of community belonging among immigrants, and in turn, protects against suicide risk. This multilevel cross-sectional study is based on individual-level data from the 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey (n = 12,951 participants) merged with area-level data from the 2006 Canadian census (n = 57 health regions). Prevalence of suicidal ideation was 1.3 %. Among rural racial minority immigrants, each 10 % increase in immigrant density associated with 67 % lower odds of suicidal ideation (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.33, 95 % CI: 0.14–0.77); sense of community belonging did not mediate this association, but was independently associated with suicidal ideation (AOR = 0.44, 95 % CI: 0.28–0.69). Immigrant density was not associated with suicidal ideation among white immigrants or urban settings. Immigrant density and sense of community belonging may correlate with suicidal ideation through distinct mechanisms of association.


Canada Immigrant Suicidal ideation Immigrant density Race Multilevel model 



The authors would like to thank the study participants who made this research possible. The authors are also grateful to Mieke Koehoorn for her helpful feedback on a prior draft of this manuscript, and Perry Hystad for his assistance with coding of the analysis. Stephen W. Pan was supported by a Four-Year Fellowship from the University of British Columbia. Richard M. Carpiano conducted this research while receiving funding from Investigator Awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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