Social capital is a significant predictor of suicidal behaviors among Chinese rural migrants. However, the mechanism, including the impact of employment and mental health, has not been fully understood. This study aims to examine the complex relationships linking social capital to suicidal behaviors.
Data were collected from a probability sample (n = 1,245) of rural migrants in Wuhan, China. Social capital was used to predict suicidal behaviors, with employment uncertainty as step 1 mediator and anxiety as step 2 mediator. Suicidal ideation and attempt were analyzed separately using a chained moderated mediation model. Years of migration was included as moderator in all models to control its confounding effect.
Of the total sample, 50.9% were male with mean age of 32.0 (SD = 7.8) years. The association between social capital and suicidal ideation was significantly mediated by employment uncertainty (indirect effect [95% CI] = −0.14 [−0.24, −0.04]), but not for suicidal attempt (−0.02 [−0.20, 0.15]). Anxiety significantly mediated the same association for both suicidal ideation (−0.19 [−0.37, −0.01]) and attempt (−0.20 [−0.40, −0.01]). The chained relationship from social capital to employment uncertainty, anxiety, and suicidal behaviors was also significant with indirect effect of −0.05 [−0.09, −0.01] for both suicidal ideation and attempt. Similar results were observed for bonding and bridging capital.
Social capital may exert an effect on suicidal behaviors through employment and mental health among rural migrants in China. Social capital–based suicide prevention must consider both employment and mental health problems to obtain better effects.