Parental Suicidal Ideation and Child Depressive Symptoms : The Roles of Optimism and Gratitude

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-595
Number of pages10
Journal / PublicationJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number4
Online published14 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


This study aimed to compare the influence of paternal and maternal suicidal ideation on child depressive symptoms and examine the moderating effects of children’s positive psychological traits: optimism and gratitude. A cross-sectional survey with 302 children and parents from five primary schools in Hong Kong were recruited. Results indicated that maternal suicidal ideation was significantly related to child depressive symptoms while paternal suicidal ideation was not. Moreover, the moderating effects of child optimism and gratitude were shown in the link between paternal suicidal ideation and children depressive symptoms. In contrast, the influencing power of maternal suicidal ideation of maternal suicidal ideation seems too strong to be attenuated by child optimism and gratitude. Findings of this study implicate the importance of prevention and intervention to suicidal parents and their offspring. Besides, positive psychology programs to enhance child optimism and gratitude might promote child resilience in the face of parental suicidal ideation. Future research is suggested to include other risk factors and protective factors that might be involved in the complex pathway from parental suicidal ideation to their children’s depression, and to collect data from multiple informants of a longitudinal representative sample.

Research Area(s)

  • child depression, gratitude, optimism, Parental suicidal ideation