Violating clan and kinship roles as risk factors for suicide and stigma among lao refugees: An application of the cultural model of suicide and “what matters most” frameworks

Amar Mandavia, Debbie Huang, Jeffrey Wong, Bernalyn Ruiz, Francesca Crump, Jenny Shen, Monica Martinez, Luba Botcheva, Eduardo Vega, Joyce Chu, Sara Lewis, Larry Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: While Asian groups have immigrated worldwide, suicide risk models have neglected to integrate cultural components. This study incorporates how stigma associated with failure to uphold clan/kinship roles can increase suicide risk in highly-marginalized Lao-Americans. Methods: One focus group with five Lao participants and 21 individual semi-structured interviews with community family members were conducted. Transcripts were coded via directed content analysis using the “What Matters Most” and Cultural Theory of Suicide frameworks. Results: Violating role-expectations associated with youth, adults and older adults appears to be associated with risk for suicide. This suggests that the failure of adults to fulfill their roles might potentially threaten loss of “full personhood” and trigger stigma, thus potentially evoking greater suicide risk. Conclusion: Interventions would benefit from cultural considerations of fulfilling role-expectations and “personhood” to combat suicide and stigma within cultural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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