Behaviour Research and Therapy (2018)
Decades of research suggest that social support is an important factor in predicting suicide risk and resilience. However, no studies have examined dynamic fluctuations in day-by-day levels of perceived social support. We examined such fluctuations over 28 days among a sample of 53 adults who attempted suicide in the past year (992 total observations). Variability in social support was analyzed with between-person intraclass correlations and root mean square of successive differences. Multi-level models were conducted to determine the association between social support and suicidal ideation. Results revealed that social support varies considerably from day to day with 45% of social support ratings differing by at least one standard deviation from the prior assessment. Social support is inversely associated with same-day and next-day suicidal ideation, but not with next-day suicidal ideation after adjusting for same-day suicidal ideation (i.e., not with daily changes in suicidal ideation). These results suggest that social support is a time-varying protective factor for suicidal ideation.
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