An Exploration of Compassion for Others on Suicidality Recovery

  • Author / Creator
    Allegro, Hailey NA
  • Suicide is a leading cause of death for young adults. Among undergraduate students, risk factors for suicidality include substance abuse, academic pressure, and identifying as a minority (De Luca et al., 2016; Giordano & Cashwell, 2012; Shadick et al., 2015). Additionally, suicidal students tend to struggle with self-esteem, and commonly experience social isolation, hopelessness, emotional dysregulation, and mental illness (Chang, 2017; Joiner et al., 2009; Norouzi et al., 2016; Zafar et al., 2012). Compassion for others, on the other hand, may increase hopefulness, social connectedness, and self-esteem (Gilbert, 2014; Mongrain et al., 2011). Thus, the potential benefits of compassion toward others appear to align with the targets of suicidality recovery. However, there has been a lack of research on the potential role of compassion for others in undergraduate students’ suicidality recovery. The purpose of this study was to explore the experience and meaning of compassion toward others, as it relates to undergraduate students’ recovery from suicidal thinking and behaviours. I interviewed six undergraduate students about their experiences with compassion for others and its impact on participants’ recovery from suicidality. Using data analyses methods from interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith et al., 2009), six superordinate themes emerged, including: sense of purpose through making a difference in others’ lives, reciprocity, positive self-concept, non-judgement and acceptance, social connection, and the cost of compassion. These findings suggest that compassion for others may be an important factor in suicidality recovery for undergraduate students. Limitations and future directions for research in the areas of compassion for others and suicidality are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.