Are suicide attempts by young Latinas a cultural idiom of distress?Transcult Psychiatry. 2012 Nov; 49(5):718-34.TP
The high rates of suicide attempts among adolescent Hispanic females in the United States have been well established by epidemiological and clinical studies. In this paper, we review the research history of Latina suicide attempts and their characteristics. Then we apply multi-faceted conceptual and empirical criteria found in the anthropological and psychiatric literature about cultural idioms of distress to the suicide attempts of young Latinas. We contrast the suicide-attempt phenomenon to the well-known ataque de nervios and propose that the phenomenon may reflect a developmental or cultural variant of the ataque. The attempt-as-idiom proposition is intended to invite discussion that can deepen our understanding of the cultural roots of the suicide attempts and their possible designation as cultural idiom. Establishing the meaning of suicide attempts within a cultural perspective can assist psychological and psychiatric research and clinical interventions.