Methods: This cross-sectional study included 3,115 Latinx adolescent respondents from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The suicide ideation index variable was compiled by combining the following three items: “During the period of time when problems were the worst, did you often think about death?”; “Did you think that it would be better if you were dead?”; “Did you think about killing yourself?” To test our model, mediation, moderation, and moderated mediation analyses were conducted. PROCESS macro for SPSS v3.0 (Model 15) was used so that the mediation and moderated mediation models using bias-corrected bootstrap.
Results: Intrinsic religiosity was negatively associated with depression (a-path; b = -.02, p < .001) and depression positively related to suicide ideation (b-path; b = .53, p < .001) and there was a significant mediation effect of intrinsic religiosity on suicide ideation through depression. Parental monitoring showed a significant and negative effect on suicide ideation (b = -.20, p < .001) and also moderated the association between depression and suicide ideation (b = -.16, p < .001). Parental monitoring also played a significant moderator role between intrinsic religiosity and suicide ideation (b = .01, p < .05). Participants who reported low and moderate level of parental monitoring showed a significant and negative correlation between intrinsic religiosity and suicide ideation (b = -.01, p < .001; b = -.01, p < .01, respectively). However, no significant moderation effect was found among participants who received a high level of parental monitoring.
Conclusion: Per ITS, increasing an adolescent’s sense of belonging may be an effective suicide prevention strategy. Our study notes that intrinsic religiosity appears to help reduce depressive symptomology and lower suicide ideation, especially when levels of parental monitoring are low or moderate. Thus, our findings have various implications: First, per our findings, it seems prudent for suicide prevention and intervention efforts to include intrinsic religiosity and parental monitoring features. Especially given that our results show both can be beneficial in reducing depressive symptomology and suicide ideation. Doing so may provide a pathway for reducing suicidality among Latinx youth, an ethnic group with some of the most acute suicide problems in the US. Second, future research should examine the relationship between an adolescent’s intrinsic religiosity and their overall sense of belonging. Further practice, research, and policy implications will be discussed.