Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2013). 34(1), 42–49. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000159 SIEC No: 20231120
Background: While perceived social support has received considerable research as a protective factor for suicide ideation, little attention has been given to the mechanisms that mediate its effects. Aims: We integrated two theoretical models, Joiner's (2005) interpersonal theory of suicide and Leary's (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs, 1995) sociometer theory of self-esteem to investigate two hypothesized mechanisms, utilization of social support and self-esteem. Specifically, we hypothesized that individuals must utilize the social support they perceive that would result in increased self-esteem, which in turn buffers them from suicide ideation. Method: Participants were 172 college students who completed measures of social support, self-esteem, and suicide ideation. Results: Tests of simple mediation indicate that utilization of social support and self-esteem may each individually help to mediate the perceived social support/suicide ideation relationship. Additionally, a test of multiple mediators using bootstrapping supported the hypothesized multiple-mediator model. Limitations: The use of a cross-sectional design limited our ability to find true cause-and-effect relationships. Conclusion: Results suggested that utilized social support and self-esteem both operate as individual moderators in the social support/self-esteem relationship. Results further suggested, in a comprehensive model, that perceived social support buffers suicide ideation through utilization of social support and increases in self-esteem.