Term of Award

Spring 2025

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 1

C. Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Ryan Couillou


Suicidal behaviors among LGBTQIA+ individuals, particularly in the context of substance misuse, present a significant area of exploration for mental health research and intervention. It is particularly important to evaluate factors capable of moderating this relationship, to promote more culturally affirming prevention models. This study aimed to explore the moderating roles of emotion regulation (ER) and psychological flexibility in the relationship between substance misuse and suicidal behaviors within the LGBTQIA+ community. Data were collected from 537 LGBTQIA+ adults through an online survey platform. Participants were asked to self-report on measures assessing the constructs of interest. The analysis focused on understanding how ER and psychological flexibility might buffer the adverse effects of substance misuse on suicidal behaviors. Results highlighted a significant moderating effect for ER. Notably, the relationship between substance misuse and suicidal behaviors varies as a function of difficulties in regulating emotions. At low levels of difficulty in regulating emotions, the relationship between substance misuse and suicidal behaviors weakens. This finding underscores the importance of ER as a protective factor and suggests that interventions aiming to enhance ER skills could be particularly beneficial for reducing suicidal behaviors in the LGBTQIA+ population. In contrast, psychological flexibility did not show a significant moderating effect, prompting further investigation into its role and potential conditions under which it might act as a protective factor. These findings contribute valuable insights to the literature, emphasizing the need for targeted interventions that address both substance misuse concerns and difficulties in ER to help LGBTQIA+ individuals manage the risk of suicide. Future research directions and clinical implications are discussed, advocating for a nuanced understanding of protective factors for suicide, especially among LGBTQIA+ individuals engaging in substance misuse behaviors.

Research Data and Supplementary Material