Background Personal social network and coping skills have important influences on suicidality of young people and such influences must be understood in the context of other factors. This study aims to assess the influences of social contacts and coping skills on risk for suicidal ideation and to disentangle their possible pathways using a large sample of university students from China.
Methods 5972 students, randomly selected from 6 universities in China, completed the questionnaire survey for the study. Logistic regression was performed to estimate individual effect of social contacts and coping skills on risk for suicidal ideation. A partial least squares path model (PLSPM) was used to probe possible paths of their effects in the context of psychopathology.
Results Of the 5972 students, 16.39% reported the presence of suicidal ideation. Poor social contacts were significantly associated with an increased risk for suicidal ideation. The influence of coping skills varied by coping styles adapted toward problems. A high score of skills on seeking guidance and support, problem solving as well as seeking alternative rewards was associated with a reduced risk of suicidal ideation; whereas a high score of acceptance or resignation, emotional discharge as well as logical analysis was associated with a significantly increased risk. Modeling the data with PLSPM indicated that the avoidance coping skills conferred the most important dimensional variable in suicidal ideation prediction, followed by the approach coping skills and social network.
Conclusions Poor social contacts and deficient coping skills are strong risk factors for suicidal ideation in young students. Prevention program focusing on these problems may have an enduring effect on reducing suicidal behavior in this population.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International