Coping, meaning in life, and suicidal manifestations: examining gender differences

J Clin Psychol. 2001 Dec;57(12):1517-34. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1114.


Life meaning and coping strategies were investigated as statistical predictors of suicidal manifestations in a sample of 298 university undergraduates. Participants completed measures of hopelessness, sense of coherence, purpose in life, coping for stressful situations, suicide ideation, prior suicide attempts, and self-reported likelihood of future suicidal behavior. Moderated multiple regression techniques examined the incremental validity of life meaning by coping interactions for predicting each suicide variable separately by gender. The interaction of sense of coherence and emotion-oriented coping made a unique, significant contribution to the statistical prediction of all suicide variables for women. For men, the interaction between sense of coherence and emotion-oriented coping contributed significantly to the statistical prediction of suicide ideation. All interactions remained significant when hopelessness was statistically controlled. The hypothesis that life meaning acts as a buffer between coping style and suicidal manifestations was partially supported. Implications for suicide prevention and intervention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Value of Life*