Recent figures point to alarming rates of suicidal tendencies and risk behaviors among Ethiopian adolescents (first and second generation) in Israel. This study tries to understand this phenomenon through an examination of the relationship between ethnic identity (Israeli and Ethiopian) and parental support with suicidal ideation and alcohol use. Two hundred adolescents aged 15-18 years from the Ethiopian community in Israel completed questionnaires examining the degree to which they felt a sense of (positive) Israeli and Ethiopian identity and parental support as well as suicidal ideation, drinking behavior, and depression. Results showed significant correlations between both Israeli and Ethiopian identities and suicidal ideation and alcohol use and a significant relationship between suicidal ideation and parental support. Regression analysis highlighted the pivotal role of a strong and positive heritage (Ethiopian) identity in lower levels of suicidal ideation and alcohol use. Results suggest the important role of ethnic identity for well-being among immigrant and minority youth, in particular in the ability of minority youth to consolidate a coherent ethnic identity incorporating a positive connection to their heritage culture as providing a protective role against suicidal tendencies and risk behaviors.
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- Alcohol use
- Ethiopian immigrant adolescents
- Ethnic identity
- Parent support
- Suicidal ideation