Year: 2017 Source: Crisis.(2016).37(4):265-270. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000399 SIEC No: 20170002

Self-esteem is a major contributor to risk for repeated suicide attempts. Prior research has shown that awareness of stigma is associated with reduced self-esteem among people with mental illness. No prior studies have examined the association between self-esteem and stereotype awareness among individuals with past suicide attempts. Aims: To understand the relationship between stereotype awareness and self-esteem among young adults who have and have not attempted suicide. Method: Computerized surveys were administered to college students (N = 637). Linear regression analyses were used to test associations between self-esteem and stereotype awareness, attempt history, and their interaction. Results: There was a significant stereotype awareness by attempt interaction (β = –.74, p = .006) in the regression analysis. The interaction was explained by a stronger negative association between stereotype awareness and self-esteem among individuals with past suicide attempts (β = –.50, p = .013) compared with those without attempts (β = –.09, p = .037). Conclusion: Stigma is associated with lower self-esteem within this high-functioning sample of young adults with histories of suicide attempts. Alleviating the impact of stigma at the individual (clinical) or community (public health) levels may improve self-esteem among this high-risk population, which could potentially influence subsequent suicide risk.

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