Gratitude and Lower Suicidal Ideation Among Sexual Minority Individuals: Theoretical Mechanisms of the Protective Role of Attention to the Positive

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Gratitude, or attention to and appreciation of the positive, is related to psychological well-being and less psychopathology, including suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STBs). However, to date, no published research has examined the gratitude-suicide relation among sexual minority (SM) adults (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual), a population at markedly greater risk for STBs. Further, the theoretical mechanisms underlying the impact of gratitude are understudied. The current study examined potential mechanisms that represent the four hypotheses (positive affect, schematic, coping, and broaden-and-build) that might explain the benefit of gratitude in relation to suicidal ideation (SI) among a sample of SM adults (N = 651). Less depressive symptoms (positive affect) and anticipated discrimination (schematic) and greater self-compassion (coping) and psychological flourishing (broaden-and-build) mediated the relation between gratitude and less SI. Therapeutic activities aimed at bolstering gratitude among SM individuals may have a beneficial effect on SI due to impact on psychopathology and psychological well-being.