Mattering is the belief that one makes a difference in the lives of others. We explore the effect of mattering on adolescent suicide ideation. The data source is the 2000 Youth At Risk Survey, composed of interviews with 2,004 youths, age 11–18 and screening interviews with their parents. Our analysis reveals that those who matter more are significantly less likely to consider suicide. In addition, we elaborate the relationship between mattering and suicide ideation by postulating a series of intervening variables (self-esteem and depression): mattering influences levels of self-esteem, which in turn influences depression, which ultimately leads to suicide ideation. Results demonstrate that mattering is mediated fully by these intervening variables, and that self-esteem is the primary source of the mediation. We discuss the implications of these results for adolescents’ self-concepts.
Elliott, G. C., Colangelo, M. F., & Gelles, R. J. (2005). Mattering and suicide ideation: Establishing and elaborating a relationship. Social Psychology Quarterly, 68(3), 223-238.