Year: 2022 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2022). 26(4), 1926–1943. SIEC No: 20221089
Objective Emotion regulation has been proposed as a mechanism driving sexual orientation disparities in suicide ideation (SI), but little research has examined the role of affect lability in the association of sexual minority identity and SI. As prior research has found trait mindfulness to be associated with lower SI, the objective of the present study was to examine the buffering role of mindfulness in the associations of sexual orientation, affect lability, and SI. Method The present study used a moderated mediation model to examine a cross-sectional dataset consisting of heterosexual (n = 1511) and sexual minority (n = 355) U.S. college students (N = 1866), to examine whether five facets of mindfulness moderated the indirect association of sexual minority identity on SI via affect lability. Results As predicted, sexual minority identity was associated with higher affect lability, which in turn was associated with higher SI. Acting with awareness (i.e., attending to the present activities), describing (i.e., the ability to verbalize inner experiences), and non-judging (i.e., refraining from judging inner experiences) buffered the indirect association of sexual minority identity on SI via affect lability, such that the indirect association weakened at higher levels of those mindfulness facets. Conclusions Our results provide a better understanding of the emotion regulation mechanisms underlying the higher risk of SI among sexual minorities. Future research is needed to examine mindfulness facets as buffers against SI among other communities, and to examine the efficacy of emotion regulation and mindfulness interventions in reducing suicide ideation and other aspects of suicidality (i.e., plans/attempts).