Social Problem Solving Under Assault: Understanding the Impact of Sexual Assault on the Relation Between Social Problem Solving and Suicidal Risk in Female College Students

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The present study sought to examine how social problem solving and sexual assault are involved in suicidal risk in a sample of 221 female college students. Specifically, we were interested to examine whether sexual assault may play an additive as well as interactive role in the prediction of suicidal risk (viz., hopelessness and suicidal behaviors) above and beyond social problem solving. Results from regression analyses indicated that deficits in social problem solving, especially low positive problem orientation, and sexual assault were important and unique predictors of suicidal risk in female students. Moreover, we found support for a Social Problem Solving × Sexual Assault interaction in predicting hopelessness. Significant interactions emerged specifically for negative problem orientation and impulsivity/carelessness style. Some important implications of the present findings are discussed.