Interpersonal Risk Factors, Sexual and Gender Minority Status, and Suicidal Ideation: Is BDSM Disclosure Protective?

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Suicidal ideation is elevated among individuals who engage in BDSM practices and those with sexual and gender minority (SGM) identities. There is limited research on the intersectionality of these identities and how they relate to suicidal ideation, especially within a theoretical framework of suicide risk, such as the interpersonal theory of suicide. Thus, we tested the indirect relation between BDSM disclosure and suicidal ideation through thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, as well as the moderating role of SGM identity on these indirect associations. Participants were 125 (M = 28.27 years; 64% cisgender men) individuals recruited via online BDSM-related forums who endorsed BDSM involvement and recent suicidal ideation. Results indicated significant moderated mediation, such that BDSM disclosure was indirectly negatively related to suicidal ideation through lower thwarted belongingness, but not perceived burdensomeness, among SGM individuals. This was due to the significant relation between BDSM disclosure and thwarted belongingness. There were no significant moderated mediation or indirect effects related to perceived burdensomeness. We also provide supplemental analyses with positive ideation (i.e., positive thoughts toward life) as the criterion variable. In conclusion, BDSM disclosure appears to be protective against suicidal ideation through thwarted belongingness but only for SGM individuals. This work furthers our understanding of the impact of intersecting marginalized identities on suicide risk and resilience. Implications, limitations, and future directions are further discussed.

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Archives of sexual behavior

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