Revisiting the immigrant paradox: Suicidal ideations and suicide attempts among immigrant and non-immigrant adolescents

Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Jakub Mikuška, Zuzana Gaššová

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The current study examined the immigrant paradox in suicidal ideations and attempts, whether rates and correlates varied across immigrant/non-immigrant youth in a nationally representative sample of 7,287 Swiss adolescents (10.2% 1st generation immigrants, 10.3% 2nd generation, and 16.1% mixed parentage; Mage = 17.45, SD = 1.85, 46.6% females). Known risk and protective factors for suicidal ideations and attempts (depressive symptoms, family and peer connectedness, and demographics) were used as correlates, and their effects were compared across groups. About 27% of youth thought about suicide in past 12 months, while 5.5% reported attempting suicide once in their lifetime. After controlling for known predictors and nationality, being an immigrant adolescent (1st, 2nd generation, or mixed parentage) lowered the risk for suicidal ideations as compared to native Swiss youth; immigrant status was unrelated to attempts. Findings provide mixed support for the immigrant paradox; both immigrant and native youth would benefit from effective intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents


  • Ethnicity
  • Immigration
  • Mental health
  • Mortality risk
  • Suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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