Assessing mental distress and suicide among Texas families: A ten-year examination of parents and their children  (2016)

Researcher(s):

Project Sponsor(s)

  • Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Project Categories

Mental health studies, and especially suicide prevention, acknowledge that single parent homes might be more “at-risk” yet often do not have an adequate sample size to draw strong conclusions.

This study will examine potential associations of mental distress and suicide across multiple generations of Texas families by utilizing the Fragile Families (FF) dataset that has followed Texas parents and their children for nine years. Their newest, accessible wave of data also includes interviews with their 9-year old children. The researcher proposes to not only examine the Texas families’ responses compared to other states (11 in total) but also compare Texas cities to one another involved in the study (Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi).

The longitudinal study employs a complex sample survey design (weighted design). Roughly 75% of the participants were comprised of unmarried couples. Families will be selected at random that identify as single parent and dual parent households and examine potential differences in family suicidal history.  Unique to this study, grandparents’ suicidal history (attempts and deaths) is documented.

This is a very interesting and under-studied area of suicide prevention even though suicide is believed to tend to run in families. There appear to be no studies offering longitudinal and multigenerational examinations of suicidal history, let alone utilizing multi-state data from community samples.