Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant distress on not only the physical health but also mental health of individuals. The present study investigated the direct and indirect effects from COVID-19 distress to suicidality via psychosocial and financial well-being among young people.
Methods: This cross-sectional survey recruited 1472 Hong Kong young people via random sampling in 2021. The respondents completed a phone survey on COVID-19 distress, the four-item Patient Health Questionnaire and items on social well-being, financial well-being, and suicidality. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to examine the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 distress on suicidality via psychosocial and financial well-being.
Results: The direct effect of COVID-19 distress on suicidality was not significant (β = 0.022, 95% CI – 0.097-0.156). The total indirect effect from COVID-19 distress to suicidality was significant and positive (αβγ = 0.150, 95% CI = 0.085-0.245) and accounted for 87% of the total effect (B = 0.172, 95% CI = 0.043-0.341). There were significant specific indirect effects via social well-being and psychological distress, and financial well-being and psychological distress.
Conclusion: The present findings support different pathways from COVID-19 distress to suicidality via functioning in different domains among young people in Hong Kong. Measures are needed to ameliorate the impact on their social and financial well-being to reduce their psychological distress and suicidality.
Keywords: COVID-19; Financial well-being; Indirect effects; Psychosocial distress; Structural equation model; Suicide risks.