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Personality Research Journal
Volume 47, Number 5,
, pages 539-546
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We examine the meaning of life as suicideresilienceFactor. Because changing life purpose directly can be difficult, we examine gratitude and courage as factors that synergistically confer resilience to suicide and increase life purpose. In a longitudinal study of 209 college students, we found that gratitude and courage work together in such a way that people who endorse high levels of gratitude and courage experience almost no gratitude.suicidal thoughtsextra hour. Testing a model of mediated restraint, we found that courage and gratitude confer suicidal resilience and increase life purpose. Our results illustrate the importance of examining co-occurring personality factors and the mechanisms of these factors that may confer resilience to suicide.
In the United States, more than 36,000 people die from suicide each year, twice the number from homicide (Centers for Disease Control, 2012). This statistic represents only the "tip of the iceberg" as many other people have suicidal thoughts and are unable to bring them to an end. Given these troubling statistics, finding factors that confer resistance to suicide is imperative. The meaning of life is one of these resilience factors. People who believe they are valuable and worthy members of their social network and who have a sense of self-efficacy and purpose have a greater will to live (Baumeister, 1991; Edwards & Holden, 2001, Joiner, 2005). Having clear reasons for living and living a life that is considered meaningful for an overall purpose is incompatible with suicide (McKnight & Kashdan, 2009, Steger, 2009).
Various theories on the risk of suicide directly or indirectly address the meaninglessness of life as a path to suicide. For example, increasing perceptions of being a burden to others (a key component in Joiner's theory of suicide) have been found to predict a decline in life purpose in older people over time (Van Orden, Bamonti, King, & Duberstein, 2012). The authors suggest that this implies that a reduced half-life is important in the relationship between suicide risk (perceived weight) and suicidal ideation. Likewise, gains in meaning in life may confer resilience to suicide or mediate the relationship between more distant factors of resilience to suicide and suicidal ideation.
Despite the potential resilience of having a purpose in life, this construct may not be directly modifiable. Alternative approaches that lead to more meaning in life might be more practical. Indeed, an intervention to reduce suicidal ideation among retireesindirectlyapproached the meaning of life in terms of clarification of values, goal planning and implementation, self-efficacy to achieve goals, linking goals to a larger purpose, and enhancing social resources to support those efforts (Lapierre, Dubé, Bouffard & Alain, 2007 ) ). Older adults in the treatment group experienced a significant increase in life purpose and a reduction in psychological distress compared to the control group, which persisted at the 6-month follow-up. By carefully targeting constructs related to meaning in life, clinicians can increase meaning in life indirectly. We want to question whether the mechanism that causes resilience factors to predict a reduction in suicidal ideation is an increase in life purpose. To explore this question, we examine two complementary psychological strengths: gratitude and courage. Gratitude is an interpersonal psychological strength that involves noticing the benefits and gifts received from others. Grit is an intrapersonal psychological strength characterized by the presence of long-term interests and passions and a willingness to persevere through obstacles and setbacks in order to work toward goals consistent with or separate from these passionate pursuits. This combination of interpersonal and intrapersonal strengths can confer an ideal combination of resistance to suicide.
Excerpts from Sections
Gratitude is a conscious appreciation of the benefits and gifts that can be attributed to the kindness of others (eg, McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, & Larson, 2001). Although there is some debate in the literature as to whether gratitude is a personality trait or an emotional state, there is general consensus that gratitude can be conceptualized at different levels of analysis: affective trait, mood, or emotion (McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004). At the trait level, gratitude can be viewed as
An additional resilience factor in predicting suicidality: determination
Grit is a psychological strength that involves pursuing long-term goals with perseverance and passion (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007). Grit is conceptually and empirically related to personality traits such as conscientiousness, but represents a different construct. In fact, “determination overlaps with the realization aspects of consciousness but differs in its emphasis on long-term endurance rather than short-term intensity. The courageous individual not only completes the pending tasks, but
Gratitude and courage as "overloaded" resilience factors
While courage and gratitude can serve as separate resilience factors, when both are present they can provide synergistic benefits in protecting against suicidality. Resilience factors examined in isolation do not reflect reality, since people have a matrix of personality dimensions and combinations of characteristics. Examining co-occurring resilience factors provides a more nuanced and expanded understanding of how one factor alters another in suicide risk. From 71 studies in a recent resilience review
The present study
In this prospective study, we examine the effects and mechanisms of courage and gratitude on suicidal ideation. This is the first study to prospectively examine each of these factors for predicting suicidal ideation, and the first to test a synergistic model between an interpersonal (gratitude) and an intrapersonal (courage) factor for a more nuanced model of resilience. Our hypothesis is that (a) individuals with high levels of gratitude and courage would demonstrate suicidal thoughts compared to fewer
A total of 209 students (84.2% women; mean age=20.51,Dakota del Sur=4.12, range 17-50) were included in an IRB-approved online study. Approximately 54% of the sample was Caucasian, 20% Asian, 13% African American, and the remaining 13% self-identified as “Other” racial/ethnic groups.
The participants completed two online self-report measures approximately 4 weeks apart. The second time point (T2) was completed in an average of 26.28 days (Dakota del Sur= 3.45 days) after completion of the first time point
Table 1 shows means, standard deviations and correlations between the studio variables along with the alpha coefficients for each construct in the studio. All variables correlated significantly in the expected direction. Approximately 15% of the sample endorsed clinically relevant suicidal ideation on the BSS (scores greater than 0) at Time 1 and 9% confirmed clinically relevant suicidal ideation at Time 2. These rates are comparable and even slightly above what may be
We found that high levels of gratitude and determination at baseline marked the people with the greatest reductions in suicidal ideation over time. Gratitude turned out to be the most important factor in reducing suicidal thoughts. However, the presence of gratitude alone did not adequately explain resilience to suicidal ideation. Neither gratitude nor courage were enough; both were required to predict the subset of people who experienced almost no suicidal ideation over time.
Todd Kashdan was funded by George Mason University's Center for Consciousness and Transformation.
- IN.Madeiraand anotherGratitude and well-being: a theoretical review and integration
Clinical Psychology Review
- S.Vrshek-Schallhornand anotherProspective predictors of suicidal ideation during depressive episodes in older adolescents and young adults.
personality and individual differences
- D.liand anotherGratitude and suicidal thoughts and attempts among Chinese adolescents: direct, mediated, and moderate effects
diary of youth
- TUBERCULOSIS.De Kashand anotherGratitude and hedonic and eudaemonic well-being in Vietnam War veterans
behavioral research and therapy
- j.Johnsonand anotherResilience to suicidality: the buffer hypothesis
Clinical Psychology Review
- JKHirschand anotherFuture orientation and suicidal thoughts and attempts in depressed adults aged 50 and over
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
- GRAMM.Engstromand anotherClinical features and biological parameters in temperamental groups of suicide attempts
Journal of Mood Disorders
- D.donaldsonand anotherTreatment of adolescents after a suicide attempt: results of a pilot study(Video) Sleep and Suicide Prevention Workshop: Advancing Innovation and Intervention Opportunity-Day 1
Zeitschrift der American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- KRKonnorand anotherSuicide attempts in individuals with opioid dependence: the critical role of belonging
- CJBrianand anotherA preliminary test of the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior in a military sample.
personality and individual differences
Resilience and vulnerability to daily stressors assessed using daily methods
Current directions in psychology
Understanding suicidal behavior in the military: an evaluation of Joiner's interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior in two post-active-duty case studies
Mental Health Journal
Amos (version 7.0) [computer program]
Suicidal thoughts in college students: a multivariate analysis
Archive of the Suicide Investigation
Suicide as an escape from yourself
meanings of life
Self-regulation and personality: Strength-enhancing interventions and moderators of ego-depletion traits
Personality traits and cognitive styles as risk factors for serious suicide attempts in adolescents
Suicidal and life-threatening behavior
Beck Scale Manual for Suicidal Thoughts
Hopelessness, depression, suicidal ideation and clinical diagnosis of depression
Suicidal and life-threatening behavior
Beck Depression Inventory Handbook
Suicidal Thought Scale: Psychometric Properties of a Self-Report Version
Journal of Clinical Psychology
Exploring the correlates of suicide attempts in individuals with major depressive disorder: Findings from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
Suicide risk factors in outpatient psychiatric patients: a 20-year prospective study
Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology
Approach, avoidance, and self-regulation of affect and action
motivation and emotions
Conscious Practice Means Success: Why the Bravest Competitors Succeed at the National Spelling Bee
social psychology and personality studies
Value: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Quote from (203)
- Factors Associated with Remission of Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior in US Military Veterans with a History of Suicide Attempts
2022, Journal of Psychiatric Research
Suicide is a major public health concern among US military veterans, but little is known about the factors associated with the decline in suicide attempts in this population. Our aim was to identify the risk and protective correlates of remission of suicidal ideation and behavior (STB) in US veterans with a prior suicide attempt. Data was analyzed from the 2019-2020 National Veterans Health and Resiliency Study. A wide range of sociodemographic, military, physical and mental health, and psychosocial variables were assessed. Life purpose, dispositional gratitude, and conscientiousness were found to be independent correlates of STS remission (24.3% to 40.3% of the explained variance), even after accounting for other relevant risk and protective factors. Although the cross-sectional nature of the study precludes the possibility of determining whether the identified protective factors are causally related to STS remission, the results suggest three potentially modifiable targets for veteran suicide prevention efforts. Longitudinal studies are needed to better understand the role of purpose in life, attitude of gratitude, and conscientiousness in promoting STS remission in veterans and other suicidal populations.
- Profiles of adolescent mental health using a latent two-factor approach
2022, Journal of School Psychology
The two-factor model of mental health emphasizes the integration of subjective well-being and psychopathology to achieve a comprehensive conceptualization of mental health. When used in school-wide assessments, this two-factor approach provides a more complete picture of students' mental health. In a sample of adolescents (Norte= 404) attending a high school in the US Midwest (grades 6-8), the current study empirically identified mental health clusters through latent profiling analysis (LPA) and examined how adherence to the profile was affected by various demographic variables, school performance, Determination, courage and a growth mentality were generally predicted. Three mental health profiles have emerged:complete mental health(above-average life and affect satisfaction, below-average internalization and externalization of problems),Symptomatic but included.(above average contentment and affection, above average internalization and externalization difficulties) andupset(Life satisfaction and affect below average, internalizing and externalizing difficulties above average). These profiles partially supported the two-factor model of mental health, although no vulnerable group was identified. Gender, SES, racial identity, and IEP status were significant predictors of adherence to the mental health profile. Academic achievement, general merit, academic merit, and growth mentality were also significant predictors of mental health group membership. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed, including how these findings affect school psychology theory and practice.
Do the bravest people have greater subjective well-being? A meta-analysis
2022, Personality and Social Psychology Newsletter
Can there be lives that are too meaningful? Conflicts between the meaning of life and other values
2022, Frontiers of Psychology
Factors influencing bank customers' orientation towards Islamic banks: Indonesian banks' perspective
2022, Sustainability (Switzerland)
Featured Articles (6)
investigative articleThe divided self and psychological (mal)adjustment: a meta-analytic review
Journal of Research in Personality, Band 47, Ausgabe 5, 2013, S. 547-552
Classical and contemporary lines of research have examined the psychological significance ofdifferentiation of self-understanding(SCD), the tendency to see yourself in different social contexts with different personality traits. A key question is whether SCD stands for specialization or, conversely, indicates fragmentation and psychological maladaptation. Here we offer the first meta-analytic overview of the results of more than 50 years of research on SCD and psychological adjustment (k=54 samples). The results provided general clues about the fragmentation position and the importance of a consistent self-concept for individual adaptation. However, ongoing analysis by moderators revealed that the impact depends heavily on the cultural background of the individual. The more individualistic the cultural sample, the stronger the association between SCD and psychological maladjustment.
investigative articleWho initiates gratitude interventions in everyday life? An Examination of Intentions, Curiosity, Depressive Symptoms, and Life Satisfaction
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 55, Number 7, 2013, pp. 805-810(Video) 👻 Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton AudioBook Full Part 1 of 2 - Case Studies of Life Between Lives
Despite a variety of interventions to improve well-being, little is known about those who care about and exercise themselves. We examine individual differences that predict who is more likely to participate in a voluntary gratitude intervention. Students (Norte=226) completed measurements of curiosity, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, and intent to change lifestyle. Participants then received a personalized invitation to participate in a web-based intervention to improve their well-being (anonymously and strictly voluntarily). The results indicate that 11.5% of the participants initiated the gratitude intervention. Individuals who support strong intentions to change their lifestyle (+1Dakota del Surabove average) were 2.2 times more likely than their peers to initiate the Gratitude Intervention. The people most curious advocated greater intentions for starting this intervention; People with stronger depressive symptoms supported weaker intentions. Both curiosity and depressive symptoms indirectly influenced the initiation of the gratitude intervention through intentions. These findings support specific pathways that take the initial behavioral effort toward healthy change. We discuss the implications of trying to increase and maintain people's well-being.
investigative articleDispositional gratitude and mental health in the US veteran population: Findings from the National Veterans Health and Resiliency Study
Journal of Psychiatric Research, Band 135, 2021, S. 279-288
Dispositional gratitude may be associated with positive mental health effects, but population data on this association is lacking. Military veterans are an ideal population to study this question given the high rates of psychiatric morbidity and efforts to promote psychological resilience in this population. Data from a nationally representative sample of 3,151 US veterans was analyzed. The veterans were divided into three groups based on a rating of their level of gratitude: high gratitude (weight 79.8%), moderate gratitude (9.6%), and low gratitude (10.5%). Multivariate analyzes examined associations between levels of dispositional gratitude and measures of mental health and psychosocial variables. A "dose-response" association between levels of dispositional gratitude and the likelihood of psychiatric morbidity was observed. Greater willingness to show gratitude was associated with a lower risk of a history of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), social phobia, nicotine addiction, and suicide attempts, as well as a lower risk of current PTSD, MDD, generalized anxiety, and suicidal tendencies. Idea generation (odds ratio range = 0.16-0.65). Greater willingness to show gratitude has also been linked to characteristics that promote resilience, such as optimism, curiosity, purpose in life, perceived social support, and religiosity/spirituality (Cohendrange = 0.11-0.73). Dispositional gratitude is widespread among US veterans, is negatively associated with psychiatric illness, and may help promote psychosocial factors related to resilience in this population. Stratifying veterans into low, medium, and high gratitude can help identify those who are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders and need additional support.
investigative articleAssociations between stress, coping strategies, coping motives, alcohol use, and related problems: a model of mediated moderation
Addictive Behavior, Volume 38, Number 4, 2013, pp. 1912-1919
Although prominent patterns of alcohol use and abuse implicate stress as a major driver of alcohol use, research has not consistently found a link between stress and the consequences of alcohol use. Stress is believed to lead to increased alcohol consumption and related problems, particularly in people who lack other coping methods to effectively manage stressful experiences. To test this hypothesis, we examined four adaptive coping approaches (active coping, planning, suppression of competitive activities, and restraint) as predictors of alcohol use and related problems, and as moderators of stress-alcohol use relationships in the university population. (Norte=225). In addition, we examined coping motives for drinking as potential mediators of coping strategy effects, as well as stress from coping strategy interactions. The analyzes supported both restriction and suppression of competitive activities as moderators of the impact of stress on alcohol use, but not as problems. The interaction between restraint and stress was also evident in predicting coping motives, and coping motives were associated with higher weekly alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Finally, coping motives for drinking served to mediate the stress through restrictive interactions in weekly alcohol consumption. Taken together, these results suggest that efforts to suppress competitive activities and curb impulsive responses to stress may reduce the risk of binge drinking during the high school-to-college transition.
investigative articleClaw as a predictor for the risk of desertion in surgical residency training
The American Journal of Surgery, Band 213, Nummer 2, 2017, S. 288-2
Grit, a measure of endurance, has been shown to predict dweller well-being. In this study, we evaluated the relationship between grip and friction.
We collected survey data from residents at a single facility for two consecutive years. All general surgeons (N=115) were invited to participate. Psychological courage and well-being were assessed using validated measures. Dropout risk was measured using survey items.
73 residents participated (63% response rate). Grit was positively correlated with overall psychological well-being (r=0,30,p<0.05) and inversely correlated with depression (r=−0,25,p<0.05) and risk of wear (r=−0,37,p<0.01). In regression analyses, scratching was a positive predictor of well-being (B=0,77,t=2,96,p<0.01) and negative predictor of depression (B=−0.28t=−2,74,p<0.01) and wear (B=−0,99,t=−2,53,p<0,05).
Friction is an expensive and troublesome household problem. Grit is a quick and reliable measure that appears to predict attrition risk in this single institute study.
investigative articleGrateful People Aren't Suicidal: Coverage Risks Associated with Hopelessness and Depressive Symptoms
Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 55, Number 5, 2013, pp. 595-599
With suicidal behavior being a leading cause of injury and death worldwide, researchers need to expand ongoing efforts to discover protective factors. In this study, we examined whether gratitude mitigated existing risk factors for suicide. Specifically, we predicted that gratitude moderated the relationship between suicidal ideation and (a) hopelessness and (b) depressive symptoms in a sample of 369 different college students. The results show that in people who are very grateful, both hopelessness and depressive symptoms are less likely to be associated with suicidal thoughts and intentions. The results demonstrate the value of integrating protective factors against suicide, including character strengths such as gratitude, into existing theories that tend to be limited to vulnerability factors. We offer experimental ideas for increasing the impact of suicide prevention and intervention programs by dealing directly with gratitude, which has been shown to be highly modifiable.(Video) 👻 Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton AudioBook Full Part 2 of 2 - Case Studies of Life Between Lives
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.