Year: 2019 Source: Behaviour Research and Therapy. (2018). Published online 11 December 2018. SIEC No: 20190286

Decades of research suggest that social support is an important factor in predicting suicide risk and resilience. However, no studies have examined dynamic fluctuations in day-by-day levels of perceived social support. We examined such fluctuations over 28 days among a sample of 53 adults who attempted suicide in the past year (992 total observations). Variability in social support was analyzed with between-person intraclass correlations and root mean square of successive differences. Multi-level models were conducted to determine the association between social support and suicidal ideation. Results revealed that social support varies considerably from day to day with 45% of social support ratings differing by at least one standard deviation from the prior assessment. Social support is inversely associated with same-day and next-day suicidal ideation, but not with next-day suicidal ideation after adjusting for same-day suicidal ideation (i.e., not with daily changes in suicidal ideation). These results suggest that social support is a time-varying protective factor for suicidal ideation.