In recent years, there has been a growing interest in understanding the relationship between sleep disturbance and suicide. The current study aimed to advance understanding of the psychological processes driving these relationships by examining whether insomnia symptoms are related to suicidal ideation via perceptions of defeat and entrapment.
Young adults (n = 259; 202 students [78.0%], 45 employed [17.4%], 12 unemployed [4.6%]) completed an anonymous self-report survey that was advertised via social media, university participant pools, and fliers. The survey was described as being related to sleep and mood/mental health. Validated measures were used to assess insomnia symptoms, chronotype, defeat, entrapment, suicidal ideation, and affective covariates.
Bivariate associations found insomnia severity to be related to poorer affective outcomes including severity of suicidal ideation. Insomnia and depression were significant independent variables in multiple linear regression with suidical ideation as the dependent variable. The relationship between insomnia and suicidal ideation was mediated by perceptions of defeat and entrapment.
Taken together, these findings shed light on the psychological mechanisms linking sleep disturbance and suicidal ideation by highlighting the role of defeat and entrapment. These findings have the potential to improve suicide risk assessment and prevention in young adults experiencing difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep.