Worldviews and individual vulnerability to suicide: The role of social axioms



Research investigating the role of generalized beliefs about the world or worldviews is relatively scarce in the suicide literature. Two studies, using Hong Kong Chinese samples, examined how worldviews, as assessed by the Social Axioms Survey (SAS), were linked with individual vulnerability to suicide. In Study 1, we investigated the relationships of social axioms with various suicide indicators in cognitive, emotional and interpersonal domains, viz., suicidal ideation, negative self-esteem, psychache, burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness. Results from canonical correlation analysis showed that beliefs along the axiom dimensions of social cynicism, reward for application, and social complexity were linked to these suicide indicators. In Study 2, we tested the interplay of worldviews and personality traits in the prediction of suicidal thoughts. Hierarchical regression results demonstrated the predictive power of social axioms over and above that provided by the Big Five personality dimensions. Moreover, a significant interaction was observed between belief in reward for application and negative life events in predicting suicidal ideation, showing that reward for application buffered the effect of negative life events on suicidal ideation. Based on these results, we discussed the significance of worldviews as a consideration in suicide research and their implications for clinical assessment and intervention. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.