Project Title

Psychache and Suicide Risk in the LGBTQ Community: Considering the Role of Time Perspective

Authors' Affiliations

Rachel E. Meek, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee University, Johnson City, TN. Morgan K. Treaster, B.A., Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Katie J. Tanner, B.S., Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

69

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jameson Hirsch

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Psychology, Mental Health

Abstract Text

In the United States, approximately 45,000 persons die by suicide annually. Members of the LGBTQ community experience heightened suicide risk; for example, suicide attempts are four times higher among gay and bisexual men, and twice as common in lesbian and bisexual women, compared to heterosexual counterparts. Experiences of stigma and discrimination may constrict one’s view of a positive future (e.g., hopelessness), thereby contributing to the development of psychache, or unbearable psychological pain and negative emotionality, and heightened risk for suicide. However, individual-level resiliency traits, such as a positive view of the future (e.g., future orientation) may contribute to reduced levels of psychological pain and suicidality. That is, whereas future orientation may ameliorate psychological pain and suicide risk, hopelessness may exacerbate such risks; yet, a comparison of the effects of these temporal constructs on psychache has not been previously examined in an LGBTQ sample.

At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that hopelessness would be positively related to psychache and suicide risk, and that psychache would be positively related to suicide risk. In addition, we hypothesized that future orientation would be negatively related to hopelessness, psychache and suicide risk. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that psychache would mediate the associations between hopelessness and suicide risk, and between positive future orientation and suicide risk. In other words, greater positive future orientation would be associated with less psychache and, in turn, to reduced suicide risk, and greater hopelessness would be linked to more psychache and suicide risk.

Recruited locally, nationally, and internationally from advocacy organizations and support groups, our sample of LGBTQ individuals (N = 496) was primarily White (81.7%; n = 365), female (44.8%; n = 201), and either lesbian or gay (46.8%, n = 209). Participants completed online self-report measures, including: Beck Hopelessness Scale, Future Orientation Scale, Psychache Scale, and the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised. Bivariate correlations, and multivariate analyses per Hayes (2013), were conducted, covarying age, birth sex, and race/ethnicity. In bivariate correlations, all variables were significantly related in hypothesized directions (p < .01). In serial mediation analyses, the total effect of future orientation on suicide risk was significant (t = -2.17, p < .05), and the direct effect was nonsignificant when psychache was added to the model (t = -.879, p = .381), indicating mediation. In the second model, psychache mediated the relation between hopefulness and suicide risk; the total effect was significant (t = 3.56, p < .05), and the direct effect was nonsignificant (t = 1.35, p = .181). Supporting hypotheses, our results suggest that LGBTQ individuals with a positive future orientation experience less psychache and, in turn, reduced suicide risk. On the other hand, LGBTQ persons with greater hopelessness experience greater psychache and, in turn, greater suicide risk.

Therapeutic interventions designed to encourage an adaptive, positive view of the future (e.g. Future Directed Therapy), rather than a hopeless view of the future, may help to counteract the often-present stressors and distress experienced by LGBTQ persons, thereby ameliorating suicide risk.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Psychache and Suicide Risk in the LGBTQ Community: Considering the Role of Time Perspective

Ballroom

In the United States, approximately 45,000 persons die by suicide annually. Members of the LGBTQ community experience heightened suicide risk; for example, suicide attempts are four times higher among gay and bisexual men, and twice as common in lesbian and bisexual women, compared to heterosexual counterparts. Experiences of stigma and discrimination may constrict one’s view of a positive future (e.g., hopelessness), thereby contributing to the development of psychache, or unbearable psychological pain and negative emotionality, and heightened risk for suicide. However, individual-level resiliency traits, such as a positive view of the future (e.g., future orientation) may contribute to reduced levels of psychological pain and suicidality. That is, whereas future orientation may ameliorate psychological pain and suicide risk, hopelessness may exacerbate such risks; yet, a comparison of the effects of these temporal constructs on psychache has not been previously examined in an LGBTQ sample.

At the bivariate level, we hypothesized that hopelessness would be positively related to psychache and suicide risk, and that psychache would be positively related to suicide risk. In addition, we hypothesized that future orientation would be negatively related to hopelessness, psychache and suicide risk. At the multivariate level, we hypothesized that psychache would mediate the associations between hopelessness and suicide risk, and between positive future orientation and suicide risk. In other words, greater positive future orientation would be associated with less psychache and, in turn, to reduced suicide risk, and greater hopelessness would be linked to more psychache and suicide risk.

Recruited locally, nationally, and internationally from advocacy organizations and support groups, our sample of LGBTQ individuals (N = 496) was primarily White (81.7%; n = 365), female (44.8%; n = 201), and either lesbian or gay (46.8%, n = 209). Participants completed online self-report measures, including: Beck Hopelessness Scale, Future Orientation Scale, Psychache Scale, and the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised. Bivariate correlations, and multivariate analyses per Hayes (2013), were conducted, covarying age, birth sex, and race/ethnicity. In bivariate correlations, all variables were significantly related in hypothesized directions (p < .01). In serial mediation analyses, the total effect of future orientation on suicide risk was significant (t = -2.17, p < .05), and the direct effect was nonsignificant when psychache was added to the model (t = -.879, p = .381), indicating mediation. In the second model, psychache mediated the relation between hopefulness and suicide risk; the total effect was significant (t = 3.56, p < .05), and the direct effect was nonsignificant (t = 1.35, p = .181). Supporting hypotheses, our results suggest that LGBTQ individuals with a positive future orientation experience less psychache and, in turn, reduced suicide risk. On the other hand, LGBTQ persons with greater hopelessness experience greater psychache and, in turn, greater suicide risk.

Therapeutic interventions designed to encourage an adaptive, positive view of the future (e.g. Future Directed Therapy), rather than a hopeless view of the future, may help to counteract the often-present stressors and distress experienced by LGBTQ persons, thereby ameliorating suicide risk.