The mediating role of emotion regulation difficulties and experiential avoidance in the relationship between defense mechanisms and suicidal ideation in adolescents

Document Type : Original Article


1 Master of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Master of General Psychology, Department of Psychology, South Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Aim: This study aimed to determine the mediating role of experiential avoidance and emotion regulation difficulties in the relationship between defense mechanisms and adolescent suicidal ideation. Method: The study was descriptive-correlational and the statistical population of this study included all adolescents in Karaj in the fall of 2019, of which 270 adolescents aged 15 to 18 years (125 boys and 143 girls) were selected by available sampling method from educational areas 3 and 7. The study tools were included Defense Style Questionnaire-40 by Andrews et al., (1993) (DSQ-40); Emotion Regulation Difficulty Scale by Gratz & Roemer (2004) (ERDS); Multidimensional Experiential Avoidance Questionnaire by Gámez et al., (2011) (MEAQ) and Suicide Cognitions Scale by Rudd et al. (2010) (SCS). Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Results: In the present study, the direct relationship between mature (β=-0.348, P=0.001) and immature (β=-0.440, P=0.001) mechanisms with suicidal ideation was significant. The direct relationship between experimental avoidance with suicidal ideation was significant (β=-0.224, P=0.001). The direct relationship between emotion regulation difficulty and suicidal ideation was significant (β=0.439, P=0.001). The indirect relationship between mature defense mechanisms and suicidal ideation was significant (β=-0.295, P=0.001). The indirect relationship between immature defense mechanisms and suicidal ideation was significant (β=0.314, P=0.001). Conclusion: Based on the results of the present study, it is suggested that in the treatment of suicidal adolescents, defense mechanisms, experiential avoidance, and emotion regulation strategies be considered.


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