Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Supervisor

Dr. Marnin Heisel; Dr. Paul Links

Abstract

Research is needed testing models that potentially promote psychological well-being and reduce suicide risk in later life (Heisel, 2006). In the present study, we tested Shmotkin (2005) and Shrira’s (2011) theory proposing that subjective well-being and meaning in life serve unique as well as interrelated roles in promoting psychological functioning in the face of adversity. We specifically investigated whether life satisfaction and meaning in life are more strongly inter-correlated in the presence of daily hassles, and tested the premise that when either life satisfaction or meaning in life is low, the other variable is more strongly associated with suicide ideation, especially among those reporting greater adversity. The present analyses included findings from 126 community-residing older adults (mean age= 74.5 years, SD = 6.0, including 92 women). We employed multiple linear regression analyses to investigate cross-sectional associations among life satisfaction, meaning in life, daily hassles and suicide ideation. Consistent with previous findings, suicide ideation was significantly negatively associated with life satisfaction and meaning in life, and positively associated with depressive symptom severity and frequency of daily hassles. Although findings from this study did not support Shmotkin (2005) and Shrira’s (2011) theory, life satisfaction and meaning in life each remained robust predictors of suicide ideation, even after controlling for depressive symptom severity and daily hassles. These positive factors may be potent indicators of psychological resilience and well-being and may serve as potential targets for suicide risk assessment and intervention among community-residing older adults.


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