Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 143–150 | Cite as

Discrimination, Mental Disorders, and Suicidal Ideation in Latino Adults: Decomposing the Effects of Discrimination

  • Soyoung KwonEmail author
  • Daehoon Han
Original Paper


Experiences of discrimination and mental disorder have been recognized as risks for suicidality. Yet, few studies have examined the direct and indirect effects of discrimination on suicidal ideation through mental disorder among Latino adults in the U.S. This study aimed to examine whether everyday discrimination and racial/ethnic discrimination is associated with suicidal ideation and if mental disorder (i.e., DSM-IV depressive, anxiety, and substance use) mediates the association. Discrimination was operationalized with self-reported discriminatory experience. This study applied a mediation analysis to the data from National Latino and Asian American Survey, 2002–2003. The key findings are: (a) everyday discrimination had an independent association with suicidal ideation as well as exerted an indirect effect through anxiety disorder. (b) Racial/ethnic discrimination was not directly associated with suicidal ideation, but its adverse effect on suicidal ideation was mediated by the depressive disorder. (c) Three types of mental disorder together accounted for approximately 32 and 42% of the impact of everyday discrimination and racial/ethnic discrimination on suicidal ideation, respectively.


Everyday discrimination Racial/ethnic discrimination Suicidal ideation Latino Mental disorder 



The National Latino and Asian American Study is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; Grant U01 MH062209 for M. Alegria, PI, and U01 MH 62207 for D. Takeuchi, PI) with supplemental support from the Office of Behavior and Social Science Research, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, and The Latino Research Program Project P01 MH059876 The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and SociologyTexas A & M University, KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA

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