Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(4), 775-784. SIEC No: 20230036
Introduction Suicide stigma is a major barrier to prevention and intervention efforts. Using terror management theory as the guiding framework, the present study examined whether enhancing self-esteem would buffer against suicide stigma and lead to prosocial attitudes and behavior. Methods Experimental methods were utilized in the present study. After being primed with death-related thoughts, participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (1) positive feedback (experimental group) and (2) no feedback (control group). The dependent variables included (1) evaluations of a suicide decedent, (2) intentions to intervene against suicide, and (3) charitable donation behavior toward a suicide prevention organization. Results The most consistent findings for the self-esteem boost hypothesis were for the interaction effects of death anxiety and self-esteem boost for the donation allocation task and intentions to intervene against suicide. For participants who were reminded of death, the self-esteem boost intervention mitigated the negative impact of death anxiety on donation behavior (i.e., an average difference of $16.37). Positive feedback for participants with reported low self-esteem also led to increased willingness to intervene against suicide. Conclusion These findings provide some promising potential for the self-esteem enhancement intervention to attenuate defensive reactions to suicide.