Forgiveness and Suicidal Behavior: Cynicism and Psychache as Serial Mediators

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Research is burgeoning regarding the beneficial association of forgiveness with numerous health-related outcomes; however, its particular relationship to suicidal behavior has received relatively little attention. Both cynicism and psychache, or agonizing psychological pain, have displayed deleterious associations with suicidal behavior, but have rarely been incorporated into more comprehensive models of suicidal behavior. Consistent with the recent development of a theoretical model regarding the forgiveness–suicidal behavior association, the present study utilized an undergraduate sample of college students (N = 312) to test a mediation-based model of the cross-sectional association of forgiveness with suicidal behavior, as serially mediated by cynicism and psychache. Dispositional forgiveness of self and forgiveness of uncontrollable situations were each indirectly associated with less suicidal behavior via less psychache. Also, dispositional forgiveness of others was indirectly associated with less suicidal behavior via less cynicism and less psychache, in a serial fashion. The present results are consistent with the extent literature on the forgiveness–suicidal behavior association, cynicism, and psychache, and pending future studies, may be utilized to inform further treatment efforts for individuals at a high risk of attempting suicide.