The moderating role of emotion regulation on the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation among students
Keywords:Emotion regulation, Depression, Suicide Ideation, Undergraduates
The study examined the moderating role of emotion regulation in the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation among university undergraduates. Participants in the study comprised 536 undergraduates (286 males and 217 females) drawn from University of Nigeria Nsukka. Emotion regulation is comprised of two strategies: Cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Suicidal Ideation Attributes Scale (SIDAS), and Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) were the scales used to collect data from the participants. Hayes regression-based PROCESS macro was used to analyze the data. Results showed that depression predicted suicidal ideation (B = .63, t = 4.34, p >.001), indicating that for everyone unit rise in depression, suicidal ideation increases by .63 unit. Both cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression did not predict suicide ideation. However, cognitive reappraisal moderated the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation such that depression predicted suicidal ideation for those with low cognitive reappraisal (B = .28, t = 4.91, p<.001), moderate cognitive reappraisal (β = .14, t = 3.45, p<.01), but not for those with high cognitive reappraisal (B = .00, t = .06, p = .950). Expressive suppression also moderated the relationship between depression and suicidal ideation such that depression did not predict suicidal ideation for those with low expressive suppression (B = -.64, t = -1.15, p = 250), moderate expressive suppression (β = .08, t = 1.92, p=.055), but depression predicted suicide ideation for those with high expressive suppressive (B = .027, t = 3.937, p<.000). Findings suggested that behavioral interventions that target adopting healthy emotion regulation skills and proper management may help curtail suicide ideation, especially for those with high symptoms of depression.