American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) suicide is a major public health concern. Although suicide statistics continue to be high, there is relatively little research investigating the factors associated with AI/AN suicidal behavior. A new approach to studying suicidal behavior is through using positive psychology concepts, such as hope and optimism. To our knowledge, this is the first research study to investigate the relationship between hope, optimism, and suicidal ideation amongst American Indian (AI) college students. Results of regression analyses statistics showed that hope was a significant negative predictor of suicidal ideation, but optimism was not. The results suggest that AI college students with more hope had less symptoms of suicidal ideation. However, this was not true for optimism. This finding demonstrates that the positive psychology construct of hope is relevant to the study of suicidal ideation for AI college students. The findings of this preliminary study point to the importance of continued research on positive psychology constructs as protective factors against suicidal ideation for AI/AN. In turn, these protective factors can help inform the development of culturally appropriate suicide prevention and intervention programs for AI/AN communities.
O'Keefe, Victoria M.; Tucker, Raymond P.; Wingate, LaRicka R.; and Rasmussen, Kathy A.
"American Indian Hope: A Potential Protective Factor Against Suicidal Ideation,"
Journal of Indigenous Research: Vol. 1:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/kicjir/vol1/iss2/3