Hope as a Process in Understanding Positive Mood and Suicide Protection: A Test of the Broaden-and-Build Model

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Background: According to the broaden-and-build model of positive mood, positive emotions are believed to broaden cognition resources and build psychological resiliency, to help incur positive psychological outcomes. Aim: We examined hope as a potential mediator of the association between positive mood and suicide protection (viz., life satisfaction and reasons for living) in adults. We hypothesized that positive mood would be associated with greater suicide protection through broadening hope agency and building hope pathways. Method: A sample of 320 college students completed measures of positive emotions, hope, and suicide protection. Results: Results from bootstrapped mediation testing indicated that hope agency, but not hope pathways, partially or fully mediated the relationship between positive mood and suicide protection. Limitations: It is not clear whether these findings are generalizable to a more diverse adult population. Also, it is not possible to rule out alternative causal models involving positive emotions and suicide protection. Conclusion: These findings provide some promising preliminary evidence for how positive emotions might help build hope agency to foster greater suicide protection in adults.