“Racism behind suicide attempts”
Mental health is something I have been increasingly aware of especially in the adoptee community. I think the link to racism is very real and very much an issue. I think this makes the case for increased attention paid to the areas of mental health needs of Asian adoptees.
Thanks to Sunny Jo for posting this to the K@W listserv. -GS
Racism behind suicide attempts
Published: 26 Jan 06 22:16 CET
Racism and sexual harassment could lie behind the higher incidence of
suicide attempts amongst teenagers adopted from foreign countries.
Girls are particularly at risk, according to a Swedish study which has
looked into the problem.
“I’m concerned that racism is a bigger problem than we previously
thought,” said researcher Frank Lindblad to TT.
Earlier research has indicated that adopted teenagers from foreign
countries are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than
There are a number of possible factors behind the phenomenon.
Society’s prejudice against against people of different appearance can
be an important one, according to Lindblad, a researcher at the
Institute of Psyhosocial Medicine and a member of the team behind the
Lindblad and his colleagues looked at 13,000 adopted children who were
born between 1963 and 1973 and followed them up to 2002. Just over
half were born in Sweden and the rest in other countries.
The results show an increased risk in both groups of attempted
suicide, but a significantly higher risk amongst the foreign adoptees.
Discrimination could be an explanation.
It’s also not unusual for foreign adoptees to have greater problems in
finding their identity in relation to their parents and society as a
The situation is most serious for women. Suicide attempts are several
times higher amongst foreign female adoptees than amongst Swedish born
women of the same age. The difference is big even compared to adopted
women with Swedish biological parents.
The research team believe they’ve detected a pattern following
interviews with young adopted women of Asian descent.
“People have preconceptions that [women of Asian descent] are
promiscuous, prostitutes, have a strong sex drive and are considered
to be exotic,” said Frank Lindblad, who believes that such sexual
prejudices can be difficult for the women concerned to understand.
The study is published in the scientific journal Social Psychiatry and