Given that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, it is important to identify risk factors that may contribute to college students’ suicide. Our study examined the differences in risk factors of suicidal ideation between 99 African American and 529 European American college women (18–24 years old). The only significant difference that was reported between the two groups of women was on hopelessness, with African American women having lower hopelessness scores. In hierarchical regression analyses, reports of hopelessness, depression, and perceived burdensomeness, but not thwarted belongingness, significantly predicted suicidal ideation in college women. Furthermore, race moderated the relationship between hopelessness and suicidal ideation such that hopelessness was a stronger predictor for African American women than it was for European American women. Race also moderated the depression–suicidal ideation association, with depression emerging as a stronger predictor of suicidal ideation for European American than for African American women. When assessing risk for suicide, our results suggest that practitioners may need to focus more on hopelessness in African American women and more on depression in European American women while also considering perceived burdensomeness in college women regardless of race. In addition to assessment, prevention programs which target these identified risk factors for suicidality should be developed specifically for African American and European American college women.
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