SOCIAL support and social connectedness are key factors that can reduce suicidal thoughts among adolescents, a new UST study showed.

These factors can serve as buffers to “risk factors” present in the life of an individual, according to the study led by Prof. Marc Eric Reyes, a clinical psychologist from the Department of Psychology.

“Social support is the feeling of care from other people, while being socially connected means having the assurance that one has somebody to talk to,” Reyes said in an online interview with the Varsitarian.

The study is titled “Relative Importance of Social Support and Social Connectedness as Protective Factors of Suicidal Ideation Among Selected Filipino Late Adolescents.”

A total of 811 Filipino youth from various colleges and universities in Metro Manila went through tests, which assessed the degree by which they felt connected to others in their social environment.

Published last May 7 in Suicidology Online, a peer-reviewed open-access journal, the study also evaluated how often these individuals received various forms of assistance during the preceding month at the time of testing.

While both factors showed protective effects, social connectedness was found to be more strongly associated with suicide ideation than social support.

Interventions that increase the perception of social connectedness are likely to be more successful in protecting a person against suicide ideation, the study found.

‘Pandemic anxiety’

Reyes said people could be experiencing a lot of psychological stress during this pandemic. One should look for positive points amid the community quarantine to decrease anxieties, he said.

“Start connecting physically inside your homes. If you’re living alone, then connect, and call your family,” Reyes said.

He also urged everyone to practice “digital detox,” which can be done by disconnecting from or limiting time spent on social media.

“Get a new hobby. Learn something new. Read, during this enhanced community quarantine,” he said.

The study was co-authored by American psychologist, Roger Davis from the Institute for the Study of Personality, and Thomasians Cyrille Ann Patrice Chua, Gabrielle Olaveria, Louise Jenri Pamintuan, Ma. Katrina Serrano and Joshua Lou Erik Tan.


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