Restrictive Emotionality, Father-son Affectionate Communication, and Suicidality in Adolescence: A Retrospective Investigation
Atkison, Heather Melinda
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This purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between restrictive emotionality, father-son affection, and the demographic variables sexual orientation and ethnicity as they relate to adolescent suicidality. Participants were 213 adult males recruited from three universities and from an online web service application. Participants completed instruments online that assessed for restrictive emotionality, affection between father and son, and demographic variables age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and suicidality. Pearson's r Correlation and linear regression were used to analyze major hypotheses and logistic regression was used to analyze the exploratory hypothesis. Results show that high affection from fathers was associated with lower restrictive emotionality and lower suicidality for adolescent sons. High restrictive emotionality scores were associated with higher suicidality. Suicidality was predicted by sexual orientation identification as gay, bisexual, or questioning, and by ethnicity being bi-racial/multiracial. The relationship between father-son affection and suicidality was mediated by restrictive emotionality. Results of this study are congruent with the previous studies in this area and further confirmed the need to identify culture specific risk and protective factors among and within various populations. Rates of suicide for adolescent males are significantly higher than for females, with numbers increasing with age. Suicide literature has highlighted the disproportionate numbers of sexual and ethnic minority males at increased suicide risk compared to white heterosexual males. This study highlights this relationship. A growing body of literature on male Gender Role Conflict (GRC) has pointed to pressure to conform to cultural standards of masculinity as a risk factor for increased mental health issues, with restrictive emotionality noted as the primary pattern related to adolescent suicide. The notion of GRC as developmental, beginning during adolescence, corresponds well with the transitional nature of this period, familial and emotional factors having primary influence. For boys, researchers have claimed the father-son relationship as one of the most critical contributors of psychological health. This study contributed to the current body of literature by integrating research from different areas identified as having strong ties to suicidaltiy and by bridging the gaps across psychological, demographic, and diversity variables noted by GRC researchers in previous studies.