Objectives. We examined migration to the United States as a risk factor for suicidal behavior among people of Mexican origin. Methods. We pooled data from 2 nationally representative surveys in the United States (2001-2003; n=1284) and Mexico (2001-2002; n=5782). We used discrete time survival models to account for time-varying and time-invariant characteristics, including psychiatric disorders. Results. Risk for suicidal ideation was higher among Mexicans with a family member in the United States (odds ratio [OR]=1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.06, 2.11), Mexican-born immigrants who arrived in the United States at 12 years or younger (OR=1.84; 95% CI=1.09, 3.09), and US-born Mexican Americans (OR=1.56; 95% CI=1.03, 2.38) than among Mexicans with neither a history of migration to the United States nor a family member currently living there. Risk for suicide attempts was also higher among Mexicans with a family member in the United States (OR=1.68; 95% CI=1.13, 2.52) and US-born Mexican Americans (OR=1.97; 95% CI=1.06, 3.65). Selection bias caused by differential migration or differential return migration of persons at higher risk of suicidal ideation or attempt did not account for these findings. Conclusions. Public health efforts should focus on the impact of Mexico-US migration on family members of migrants and on US-born Mexican Americans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health