A new study has found that Asian-American individuals, whose families experience a high degree of interpersonal conflict, have been found to be thrice as likely to attempt suicide than other Asian-Americans.
Experts at the University of California, Davis say that the risk is tripled even among those who have never had a diagnosis of depression.
"Because of the great emphasis on harmony and family integration in many Asian cultures, family conflict is an important factor to consider when studying suicidal behaviours among Asian Americans," said Stanley Sue, a professor of psychology and Asian American studies at UC Davis and one of the study's authors.
"Our study suggests that we need to more precisely determine the kinds of family conflicts that are associated with suicide risk among Asian Americans, and find means of preventing these family problems," he added.
The team led by Janice Cheng analysed the data from the 2002-2003 National Latino and Asian American Study.
The survey involved in-person interviews with more than 2,000 Asian Americans nationwide.
The subjects were asked about their income, marital status, age at time of immigration or number of generations their families had been in the U.S., English language proficiency, family conflict, and suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, among other questions.
This yielded a wealth of raw data for the researchers to examine so that they could get insights into Asian American mental health.
The survey showed that 2.7 percent of the Asian Americans interviewed had attempted suicide at some point during their lives while 9.1 percent of the total group reported having had suicidal thoughts
Among Asian Americans in the national survey, family conflict was a significant risk factor for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts -- independent of depression, low income or gender.
"This is the first nationally representative investigation of family conflict and suicidal behaviors among Asian Americans," Sue said.
"Our findings suggest that high family conflict has an independent and additive effect in predicting lifetime suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among Asian Americans," he added.