Psychological strain and suicidal ideation: A comparison between Chinese and US college students

Psychiatry Res. 2017 Sep;255:256-262. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.05.046. Epub 2017 May 30.


Objective: This study was to explore the relation between psychological strains and suicidal ideation among Chinese and American college students. Another secondary purpose of the study was to examine the reliability of the psychological strains scales (PPS: Ref) one more time in China and the United States in college populations.

Method: Samples of college students were randomly recruited from China and United States. All of 529 college students (aged 17-27, 68.9% female) completed self-report assessments of psychological strains (Psychological Strain Scale), suicidal ideation (Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation), and indicators of psychological well-being (e.g., depression, anxiety, and stress).

Results: Empirical results show that Psychological Strain Scales (PSS) has a good reliability. Chinese college students reported higher suicide ideation scores than American students whereas there was no statistical difference in psychological strains. Psychological strains and, depression, anxiety, and stress, were positively related to suicidal ideation in both countries. Stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that psychological strain can significantly predict suicidal ideation.

Conclusions: These findings provide support for the Strain Theory of Suicide for both Chinese and American college students and some measures can be taken to reduce psychological strains in students. However, future work could extend these findings by utilizing a longitudinal design to determine whether psychological strains are in fact antecedents, and not simply correlates, of suicide ideation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Self-Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult