Purpose in Life as a Tool for Managing Racial Discrimination and Suicide Ideation in Racial/Ethnic Minority Emerging Adults



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An Existential-Constructivist approach to suicide resilience suggests that purpose in life (PIL) offsets one’s existential concerns, however, contextual challenges, such as racial discrimination, are believed to threaten both emotional wellbeing and contribute to risk for suicide. We posit that for racial and ethnic minority emerging adults (N=289) who perceive racial discrimination, having more PIL will be a more salient buffer than ethnic identity (EI) on thoughts of suicide. Regression analysis showed that EI was not a significant moderator for the relationship between perceived racial discrimination (PRD) on suicidal ideation (b = - .47, p = .13), however, PIL was a significant moderator (b = - .06, p = .025). A hierarchical regression showed that PIL as a moderator explained additional variance (∆R2 = 0.112, p < .001) in suicide ideation above and beyond EI as a moderator. Further investigation into the clinical significance of PIL as a buffer is necessary.



Purpose in life, Ethnic identity, Racial discrimination, Suicidal ideation, Racial minorities