Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 315–325 | Cite as

Parental Suicidality as a Risk Factor for Delinquency Among Hispanic Youth

  • Wesley G. JenningsEmail author
  • Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina
  • Alex R. Piquero
  • Glorisa Canino
Empirical Research


Several studies have examined the factors associated with juvenile delinquency, but this literature remains limited largely because it has not moved beyond traditional factors generally and because of the lack of research conducted on minority—especially Hispanic—youth. This study seeks to overcome these two limitations by using data from a longitudinal study of 2,491 Hispanic (Puerto Rican) youth ages 5–13 (48.5% female) socialized in two different cultural contexts, Bronx, New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an effort to examine the relationship between parental suicidality and offspring delinquency. Results indicate that while traditional risk/protective factors and parental mental health issues relate to delinquency in expected ways, youths whose parents attempted suicide engaged in more frequent and varied delinquency over time. Implications for theory and future research are addressed.


Risk/protective factors Suicide Hispanics Delinquency Longitudinal studies 



The study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health through grants RO-1 MH56401 (Dr. Bird, principal investigator), P20 MD000537-01 (Dr. Canino, principal investigator) from the National Center for Minority Health Disparities, and the Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida. The authors would like to offer a sincere thanks to Hector Bird and also acknowledge the important contributions of Vivian Febo, Ph.D., Iris Irizarry, M.A., Linan Ma, MSPH, and of all of the dedicated staff who participated in this complex study. Finally, we would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, all of which significantly improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wesley G. Jennings
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina
    • 2
  • Alex R. Piquero
    • 3
  • Glorisa Canino
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Justice AdministrationUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.University of Puerto RicoSan JuanPuerto Rico

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