Low perceived social rank increases the impact of mental health symptoms on suicidal ideation: Evidence among young adults from the Philippines
Dizon, J.I.W.T. & Mendoza, N.B.
Studies on social factors that could influence the mental health-suicidal ideation link remain scarce, especially in non-Western contexts. This study examined the relationship between mental health symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety, and stress) and suicidal ideation and whether one’s perceived social rank moderates such a relationship. Data from 631 students from two universities in the Philippines collected between October to December 2018 was analyzed. Bivariate correlations show that greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress are associated with increased suicidal ideation. Hierarchical linear regression models supported the direct relationship between mental health symptoms and suicidal ideation and demonstrated that perceived social rank significantly moderated such a relationship. Johnson-Neyman plots and simple slopes analyses further illustrate how mental health symptoms and perceived social rank interact to impact suicidal ideation. The results show that as one’s perceived social rank lowers, the strength of the positive association between depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms to suicidal ideation strengthens. The results held while controlling for age, gender, college year level, and family income. The findings are discussed using the social rank theory and the Integrated Motivational-Volitional (IMV) model of suicide to view suicidal ideation from both an individual and a social perspective. We expound on the role of low perceived social rank on suicidal ideation among young adults.