Study Examines Value of Grit and Humor in Suicide Prevention

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A pair of UNC Charlotte researchers, in collaboration with co-authors at Louisiana State University and the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), recently published a study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences on the subject of grit, humor and suicide prevention.

Andrea Kaniuka is a student in UNC Charlotte’s Ph.D. program in public health sciences and the paper’s lead author. Her mentor, Rob Cramer, is an Associate Professor and Irwin Belk Distinguished Scholar in Health Research in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UNC Charlotte.

Researchers conducted a survey of adults in both the United States and United Kingdom. Study goals were to assess whether grit and humor may be associated with suicide-related behavior. Authors also looked at how these relationships differed by country, finding that self-enhancing and self-defeating humor styles were associated with less lifetime suicide-related behavior.

“Our study identified self-enhancing and self-defeating humor as positive coping mechanisms for individuals in the U.K., but not U.S., suggesting that there are cross-cultural differences in how certain styles of humor may be helpful in suicide prevention,” said Kaniuka.

“One of the nice parts about this research is that it fosters emerging partnerships between UNC Charlotte with regional and international partners,” said Cramer.

The authors are planning future cross-cultural prospective suicide studies. The study can be found here.