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New study underscores ethnic pride important to well-being of Latino students

LatinaLista — The argument for the importance of ethnic clubs just got a boost from new research from the University of Michigan (U-M).

Dr. Edward Chang, U-M professor of psychology and social work, and his team, found that when Latinos felt lonely and did not have a strong ethnic identity — defined as how someone looks at him/herself in a racial group — the likelihood of them considering suicide was higher.

“For Latinos, feeling pride about their ethnicity might keep some from feeling lonely or depressed, which are associated with greater risk of suicide attempts,” said Dr. Chang.

Chang and his colleagues interviewed 160 Latino college students looking at how ethnic identity and feelings of hopelessness and loneliness could predict suicide risk. Their findings were published in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.

A positive sense of ethnic identity was usually found if the students were involved in Latino-centric social organizations on campus or had a strong sense of pride in their background.

The study also found that when Latino students “believed their future was hopeless as a member of their ethnic group,” feelings of suicide increased.

One encouraging finding of the study was that the more students interacted with other ethnic groups, the less likely they felt suicidal.

In other words, the more students interacted with others, felt pride in themselves as Latinos, the less lonely and isolated their feelings that life wasn’t worth living.

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