Examination of Grit as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Perceived Discrimination and Suicide Ideation
Cole, Ashley B.
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Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults ages 15-34; however, suicide rates vary by race and ethnicity. Cultural factors are generally neglected in suicide research. However, perceived discrimination is a key cultural factor that is experienced across ethnic/racial minority members and is related to many negative mental health outcomes, including suicide. The relationship between perceived discrimination and suicide may vary as a function of individual protective characteristics. One such possible resiliency factor against suicide is grit, which is defined as perseverance through obstacles and a passion for long-term goals over time (Duckworth et al., 2007). The aim of the current study was to examine whether grit would significantly buffer the relationship between perceived discrimination and suicide ideation in a community sample of ethnic minority members. It was hypothesized that perceived discrimination would be positively and significantly associated with suicide ideation, and that grit would significantly moderate this association, thus weakening this relationship. Results of the current study partially supported hypotheses. Perceived discrimination (including recent, lifetime, and appraised stressfulness of discrimination) was positively and significantly associated with suicide ideation. Results of regression analyses indicated that grit significantly weakened the relationship between perceived discrimination (recent discrimination) and suicide ideation; however, grit did not significantly moderate the relationships between lifetime discrimination and suicide ideation, or between appraised discrimination and suicide ideation. These findings suggest that ethnic minority individuals who are low in grit and have recently experienced high rates of discrimination may be more susceptible to thoughts of suicide.
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