Year: 2019 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2019). 23(2):333-352. SIEC No: 20190486

Childhood maltreatment is associated with risk for suicidal ideation later in life, yet more research is needed on the indirect effects and bioregulatory protective factors in this association. The present study aimed to investigate the indirect influence of childhood maltreatment on suicidal ideation in emerging adulthood via level of self-esteem, and examine the moderating role of heart rate variability (HRV; a proxy for emotion regulation) in this indirect association. The study included a sample of 167 non-metropolitan emerging adults (Mage = 21.17, 55.8% female) of low-socioeconomic status (low-SES). HRV data were obained using an electrocardigram, whereas childhood maltreatment, suicidal ideation, and self-esteem data were obtained via self-report. Childhood maltreatment was indirectly associated with suicidal ideation via reduced self-esteem. HRV buffered this indirect association. Childhood maltreatment poses a risk for the development of suicidal ideation. Interventions that bolster self-esteem and emotion regulation may reduce suicide risk for emerging adults with a history of childhood maltreatment.