Early childhood attachment and suicidal ideation among young Kenyan men

Michael L. Goodman, Derrick Gibson, Thiennga T. Vo, Aaron Wang, Stanley Gitari, Ben Raimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The interpersonal theory of suicide posits that suicide behavior is driven by two interpersonal dynamics – perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness. Attachment theory posits that one's sense of belonging may stem from social attachments during childhood. In this study, we investigate whether these two theories may be meaningfully combined to provide a life course perspective on suicide ideation among young Kenyan men (age 18–34 years). We find that respondents who recalled childhood attachments that were less safe and warm were significantly more likely to report suicide ideation, a pathway that was significantly mediated by present loneliness. Consistent with the interpersonal theory of suicide, the association between loneliness and suicide ideation was significantly mediated by less meaning in life and hope. Suicide ideation in adulthood may be prevented by promoting more secure attachments during childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Attachment theory
  • Interpersonal theory
  • Kenya
  • Men
  • Suicide ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Early childhood attachment and suicidal ideation among young Kenyan men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this