Does self-compassion serve as a protective factor against the development of suicidal ideation?
MetadataShow full item record
Suicide is believed to be the second leading cause of death among college students, and recent data on the prevalence of suicidal ideation on college campuses signifies the need for suicide prevention efforts. Historically prevention efforts have emphasized identifying and shepherding into specialized mental health treatment those students who are currently in a heightened state of risk. One limitation of this approach is that college mental health services find themselves stretched to capacity, with utilization rates steadily on the rise. Thus, several scholars have called for suicide prevention efforts to take a public health approach, seeking to intervene more broadly by improving the mental health of the larger population. One way of broadening these prevention efforts is to investigate factors that preserve the emotional and mental resilience of college students facing similar life stressors and distress levels. Thus, the suicidality literature has seen an increase in the investigation of these protective factors. Self-compassion emerges in the literature as a promising protective factor that may have applicability in shielding individuals from entering the continuum of suicidality.<<par>> This study aims to build upon existing research by examining within a college student population the relationship between suicidal ideation and possessing a self-compassionate attitude, a relationship that has yet to be examined in the literature. Further goals of this research include the following: determining if any of the six subscales of the self-compassion construct in particular convey more robust protection from developing suicidal ideation, examining the potential mediating effect of self-compassion on the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation, and investigating whether self-compassion has a differential influence on developing suicidal ideation for women as compared to men. The proposed study will use a stratified randomized case control design in which those endorsing suicidal ideation in the past month will be matched with those indicating the absence of suicidal ideation in the past month on perceived impact of recent life stress and demographic characteristics. Self-report methods will include a measure of self-compassion, depression, life events, and an item aimed at examining presence or absence of suicidal ideation during the past month. Findings from this study will contribute to an understanding of resilience factors that protect from the development of suicidality and will have implications for intervening broadly at the population level.