Loneliness and Suicidal Risk in Young Adults: Does Believing in a Changeable Future Help Minimize Suicidal Risk Among the Lonely?

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This study examined loneliness and future orientation as predictors of suicidal risk, namely, depressive symptoms and suicide ideation, in a sample of 228 college students (54 males and 174 females). Results of regression analyses indicated that loneliness was a significant predictor of both indices of suicidal risk. The inclusion of future orientation was found to significantly augment the prediction model of both depressive symptoms and suicide ideation, even after accounting for loneliness. Noteworthy, beyond loneliness and future orientation, the Loneliness × Future Orientation interaction term was found to further augment both prediction models of suicidal risk. Consistent with the notion that future orientation is an important buffer of suicidal risk, among lonely students, those with high future orientation, compared to low future orientation, were found to report significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms and suicide ideation. Some implications of the present findings for studying both risk and protective factors associated with suicidal risk in young adults are discussed.