Aim: Suicide ideation has increased since the outbreak of Covid-19 in many countries. The present longitudinal study investigated potential predictors of suicide ideation.
Subject and methods: Data of 406 participants from Germany (age M = 27.69, SD = 6.88) were assessed via online surveys in spring 2020 (baseline, BL) and in spring 2021 (follow-up, FU).
Results: The current results reveal a significant increase in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress between 2020 and 2021. Positive mental health (PMH), sense of control, and physical health significantly decreased. Depression symptoms (BL), PMH (BL), and consciously enhanced physical activity since the pandemic outbreak (FU) significantly predicted 12-month suicide ideation (FU). In a moderated mediation analysis, the positive relationship between depression and suicide ideation was significantly mediated by PMH. Consciously enhanced physical activity significantly moderated the negative association between PMH and suicide ideation.
Conclusion: The context of Covid-19 could negatively impact mental health and physical health. This might increase the risk for suicide ideation. However, PMH and physical activity might serve as protective factors. The protective effect of physical activity could be especially important in people with high depression symptoms and low PMH, such as clinical patients. Potential ways of how PMH and physical activity could be enhanced in the Covid-19 context to prevent suicide ideation are discussed.