Title

Purpose in life and reasons for living as mediators of the relationship between stress, coping, and suicidal behavior

Abstract

Positive psychological factors that help protect vulnerable persons from suicidal behavior are vital in understanding resiliency and suicide prevention. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether positive factors (including purpose in life, reasons for living, and coping styles) mediate the relationship between stressful life events and suicidal behaviors among 416 college student volunteers. Reasons for living inversely predicted suicidal behavior and thoughts directly as well as indirectly via an inverse relationship with depression. Purpose in life indirectly predicted suicidal behavior and thoughts via an inverse effect on depression, whereas emotion-focused coping indirectly predicted suicidal behavior and thoughts both through an effect on depression and an inverse effect on reasons for living. In addition, avoidant coping indirectly predicted suicidal behavior via a direct, positive effect on reasons for living. Reasons for living and emotion-oriented coping had the largest effects in the model. Results of this study underscore the importance of augmenting reasons for living and purpose in life among suicidal or potentially suicidal persons.

Publication Title

Journal of Positive Psychology

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