Suicide ideation and the five factor model of personality in young adults.

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dc.contributor.author Tryon, Shantall
dc.date.accessioned 2008-12-23T07:24:47Z
dc.date.available 2008-12-23T07:24:47Z
dc.date.issued 2008-12-23T07:24:47Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/5905
dc.description.abstract Suicidal behaviour is a serious public health problem throughout the world. International as well as South African data suggests that young adults in their twenties are at high risk for suicidal behaviours. The identification of depression as a risk factor for suicidal behaviour is well established and accumulating empirical evidence indicates that certain personality traits may increase individual vulnerability to suicidality. However few studies have controlled for the influence of depression on the relationship between personality traits and suicidal behaviour. The central aim of this study was to establish whether a relationship exists between personality and suicidal ideation, which includes Negative Ideation (suicide ideation) and Positive Ideation (protective factor against suicidal behaviour) in a sample of 83 university students aged 22 to 29 years. The impact of depression on the relationship between personality traits and suicide ideation was considered as a potential confounder and controlled for in the assessment of the relationship. The prevalence rate of suicide ideation was also assessed. Data from the participants was collected through the administration of three self-report inventories: the Positive and Negative Suicide Ideation Inventory, (PANSI), the NEO-PI-R personality inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The prevalence rate of suicide ideation of the sample was determined by utilizing the frequencies calculated with regard to the PANSI Negative Ideation (suicide ideation) and Positive Ideation (protective factor against suicidal behaviour) scales respectively. Findings indicated that about 1 in 6 young adults had recently thought about killing themselves. Spearman’s correlations were employed to investigate the relationship between suicide ideation and personality traits, depression and suicide ideation, and depression and personality, respectively. In addition, Spearman’s partial correlation was employed in order to factor out the influence of depression on the relationship between personality and suicide ideation. Analysis of the correlations revealed the following. A weak to moderate positive significant correlation between Negative Ideation (suicide ideation) and Neuroticism (r = 0.318, p = 0.003), and a weak to moderate inverse significant correlation between Negative Ideation and Extraversion (r = -0311, p = 0.004), and Conscientiousness (r = -0.384, p = 0.000), respectively. A weak to moderate inverse significant correlation between Positive Ideation (protective factor against suicidal behaviour) and Neuroticism (r = -0.347, p = 0.001), a moderate positive correlation between Positive Ideation and Extraversion (r = 0.504, p <.000), and a weak to iii moderate positive correlation between Positive Ideation and Conscientiousness (r = 0.382, p = 0.000) were found. BDI scores were significantly correlated with higher Negative Ideation scores (r = 0.611, p <. 000) and inversely related to Positive Ideation scores (r = -0.458, p <.000). This indicates a moderate positive association between depressed mood and suicide ideation and a moderate inverse association between depressed mood and Positive Ideation. BDI scores also correlated significantly with Neuroticism (r = 0.574, p <. 000), Extraversion (r = -0.397, p = 0.000) and Conscientiousness (r = -0.474, p <.000). This indicates a moderate positive association between depressed mood and Neuroticism, and a weak to moderate inverse association between depressed mood and Extraversion and Conscientiousness, respectively. However, when the impact of depression was statistically removed from the relationship between personality and suicide ideation, Negative Ideation (suicide ideation) was no longer significantly correlated with any of the NEO-PI-R domains. Positive Ideation was only significantly correlated with Extraversion when the influence of depressed mood was controlled (r = 0.395, p = 0.000). The finding on the prevalence rate of suicide ideation among young adults is of relevance to the South African context as data in this regard is not well documented. Findings on the association between suicide ideation and Neuroticism, Extraversion and Conscientiousness, respectively, suggest that selected personality traits may increase individual vulnerability to suicidality and demonstrates the significance of understanding the role of personality in suicidal behaviour. In addition, the present study has added to this area of research by considering the influence of depression on the relationship between suicide ideation and personality. The non-significant association between personality traits and suicide ideation when the influence of depression was factored out suggests that personality interacts with depression in increasing vulnerability to suicidality. The present study is also distinguished by considering personality as possibly being a protective factor against engaging in suicidal behaviour. Findings suggest that selected personality traits may make independent contributions in protecting against suicide ideation. In order to further investigate the utility of personality traits as protective factors against suicidal behaviours or as markers of risk for suicidal behaviours and targets of intervention, future multivariate research is imperative. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Suicide en
dc.subject Personality en
dc.title Suicide ideation and the five factor model of personality in young adults. en
dc.type Thesis en


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