Mindfulness and Avoidant Coping: Examining the Behavioral Correlates of Suicidal Ideation among Sexual Minority College Students
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are at higher risk for mental health problems including suicidal ideation (SI). Previous research has indicated that coping strategies and mindfulness may explain disparities in SI among LGB individuals. The aim of the present study was to examine how coping strategies (self-sufficient, avoidant, socially-supported) and trait mindfulness facets (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging, non-reactivity) contribute to these differences. The sample consisted of 927 college students, 124 of whom identified as LGB. Within the analytic sample, a majority identified as women (n = 639, 68.9%), 18 or 19 years of age (n = 573, 61.8%), and college freshmen (n = 551, 59.4%). LGB individuals exhibited significantly higher levels of socially-supported coping, SI, and observing, marginally higher levels of avoidant coping, and significantly lower levels of non-judging and acting with awareness. Mediation analyses revealed that LGB identity was linked to higher levels of SI via higher avoidant coping. None of the moderated mediation models were significant, such that variations in mindfulness did not significantly moderate the association between LGB identity and avoidant coping. Exploratory analyses revealed acting with awareness and non-judging significantly moderated differences in SI, meaning LGB individuals with higher levels of acting with awareness and non-judging were at lower risk for SI. These results provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the SI risk disproportionately affecting the LGB community and shed light on the importance of programs designed to develop healthy coping strategies and mindful thinking.
Siroty, Matt, "Mindfulness and Avoidant Coping: Examining the Behavioral Correlates of Suicidal Ideation among Sexual Minority College Students" (2022). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1898.