Objective: Numerous studies have found support for the relationship between suicide and risky behavior. However, few studies have examined factors that may help explain the relationship between suicidal ideation (SI) and risky behavior. This preregistered study examined the relationship between SI and risky behavior and whether there is an indirect relationship through hopelessness, impulsivity, and low wish to live. These factors were selected due to their relationships with both SI and risky behavior.
Methods: Participants recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk completed measures of SI, risky behavior, hopelessness, impulsivity, and wish to live. Consistent with our preregistered methods, we analyzed data from 180 participants with valid data. Indirect effects were evaluated via bootstrapping with 5000 resamples of the a path x b path product.
Results: Consistent with prior work, we found a significant positive association between SI and frequency of risky behavior (r = .49). We found significant indirect effects of SI on risky behavior through impulsivity and wish to live but not through hopelessness.
Conclusion: SI and risky behavior are associated with each other through impulsivity and wish to live. Though future longitudinal research is needed to determine causality, this has important implications for models of suicidal thoughts and behaviors and their relationship with risky behavior. The potential of future orientation to explain the results is discussed.
Keywords: Future orientation; hopelessness; impulsivity; risky behavior; suicidal ideation; wish to live.