Optimism/Pessimism and Future Orientation as Predictors of Suicidal Ideation: Are There Ethnic Differences?

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Abstract

Objective: The present study sought to test the generalizability of Chang et al.’s (2013) model, which suggests that optimism/pessimism and future orientation function as additive and interactive predictors of suicidal risk, to specific ethnic minority college student groups (i.e., Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latino Americans). Method: The present study used Chang et al.’s (2013) model to predict suicidal ideation among 81 (34 male and 47 female) Asian-American, 71 (22 male and 49 female) African-American adults, and 83 (34 male and 49 female) Latino-American college students. Results: Our results indicated that this model did not predict suicidal ideation well for Asian-American college students; however, it did work well to predict suicidal ideation for African-American and Latino-American college students. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that optimism/pessimism and future orientation are important positive cognitions involved with suicidal ideation for African-American and Latino-American college students. Further research is needed to better understand the cultural underpinnings of how these positive cognitions work to predict suicide-related outcomes.

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