Interpersonal Relations And Suicide Ideation In China
Zhang J; Jin S
Genet Soc Gen Psychol Monogr
Vol.124 No. 1 Feb.1998 Pp.79-94
Copyright by Genet Soc Gen Psychol Monogr
INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS AND SUICIDE IDEATION IN CHINA
ABSTRACT. This study is an examination of the effects of interpersonal
relations on suicide ideation in a national sample of 1,433 individuals
from China. The effect of gender as well as Chinese-Western comparisons are
also examined. Suicide ideation rates (defined as thinking about committing
suicide) and rates for planned suicide were significantly lower than those
in most U.S. samples; Chinese women consistently scored higher than men in
both areas. LISREL path analyses indicated that interpersonal conflict had
the greatest direct and total effect on suicide ideation, and social
isolation was the weakest predictor among the three measures of
interpersonal relations. A path model using the Chinese data calls into
question Durkheim's social integration theory for predicting suicide.
Findings are discussed in relation to Chinese culture.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH ON SUICIDE IDEATION (defined as thinking about committing
suicide) has addressed various correlates on both the social and individual
levels. At the social structural level, most researchers have studied the
effects of family, religion, and social support; at the individual
psychological level, researchers have concentrated on the effects of
depression and self-esteem. However, interpersonal relationships have not
been adequately studied as an important social factor for predicting an
individual's psychological well-being in relation to suicide ideation. In
the current research, we examined several interpersonal factors in relation
to suicide ideation.
Interpersonal relations play a crucial role in determining an individual's
psychological well-being. Most people are acutely aware that their
relationships with others are important in shaping the nature of their
lives. Klinger (1977) found that almost all U.S. respondents said that
friends were important when asked, "What is it that makes your life
meaningful?" In a U.S. study of interpersonal attraction using people of
various ages, Berscheid (1985) found that "making and maintaining
friendships" and "having positive, warm relationships" were very high
priorities in making these people happy. Because good relations with people
are associated with happiness, and because unhappiness (depression)
predicts suicide ideation, a connection can be built between interpersonal
relations and suicide ideation.
Although few researchers have examined the impact of interpersonal
relations on suicide ideation, many psychologists have examined the
association between interpersonal relations and depression or self-esteem
and between psychological well-being (such as depression and self-esteem)
and suicide ideation. Results of studies investigating the impact of close
relationships on mental health indicate a strong consensus that, in
general, good relationships with other people have both preventive and
ameliorative effects (Brickman et al., 1982; Dean & Lin, 1977; Suls, 1982).
By testing an intervention model of constructive conflict resolution and
cooperative learning with a sample of high school students in New York
City, Zhang (1994) found that an improvement in interpersonal relations led
to higher self-esteem, more positive attitudes toward life, and less
depression or anxiety. Among patients with rheumatoid arthritis and
osteoarthritis, Zautra, Burleson, Matt, Roth, and Burrows (1994) noticed
that positive interpersonal events were inversely related to depression,
whereas conflictual interpersonal events were directly correlated with
higher levels of depression.
Studies of the relationship between stress and depression, such as those
just mentioned, have also consistently shown a correlation between the two
events. However, as explained by Brown and Harris (1978), an important
factor in the relationship between stress and depression is the amount of
social support an individual has available when confronted with stressful
events; individuals with one or several close friends are less likely to
become depressed when experiencing stress (Brown & Harris, 1978).
Links between psychological well-being and suicide ideation have been
adequately addressed in the literature. Self-esteem reflects "people's
evaluations of their own self-worth--that is, the extent to which they view
themselves as good, competent, and decent" (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 1994,
p. 20). As with psychological well-being, which is healthy, positive, and
prosocial, self-esteem can be a buffer against suicide or suicide ideation,
which is unhealthy, negative, and antisocial. Numerous studies have
documented a negative relationship between self-esteem and suicide ideation
(e.g., Brubeck & Beer, 1992; Cole, Protinsky, & Cross, 1992; de Man &
Leduc, 1995; de Man, Leduc, & Labreche-Gauthier, 1993a, 1993b; Lester &
Schaeffler, 1993; Lewinsohn, Rohde, & Seeley, 1994; Shagle & Barber, 1993,
De Man, Leduc, and Labreche-Gauthier (1993b) found that adolescents with
low self-esteem or weak internal locus of control are more inclined toward
suicide ideation and are more likely to commit suicide. In a study of over
400 U.S. high school students, Cole et al. (1992) divided the respondents
into groups with high and low risk of suicide and found that high-risk
respondents reported significantly poorer quality friendships, lower
self-esteem, and more life stress during the previous year. The strongest
predictors of suicide attempts among another sample of U.S. high school
students reported by Lewinsohn et al. (1994) included a history of past
attempts, current suicide ideation or depression, a recent attempt by a
friend, and low self-esteem.
Suicide ideation in Beck's Depression Inventory (Beck, Ward, Mendelson,
Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961) is simply an indicator that measures depression.
Obviously there is a strong association between depression and suicide
ideation when they are treated as two separate variables. Using Zuni
adolescents, Howard-Pitney, LaFromboise, and Basil (1992) found, in a
multiple regression analysis in which 12 other psychological and social
factors were controlled, that depression is one of the best predictors of
suicide ideation (r = .40).
Yang and Clum (1994), who supplied an etiological model to a sample of
Asian students, found that the standardized coefficient between depression
and suicide ideation was .54, which is the highest coefficient in the model
for predicting suicide ideation. Similarly, the de Man et al. study (1993a)
of FrenchCanadian adolescents showed a correlation coefficient of .64 for
depression and suicide ideation. Furthermore, the literature concerning the
association between depression and suicide ideation published since 1990
shows that, in most of the multiple-factor models reviewed, depression was
identified as the best single predictor of suicide ideation, with an
average mean coefficient of .51 from nine multiple regression or bivariate
analyses (Zhang, 1996).
In contrast to the numerous studies of self-esteem and depression and their
relationship to suicide ideation, there are few studies of interpersonal
relations and their effects on suicide ideation. Furthermore, the notion of
interpersonal relations has been represented in many different ways in the
literature. Social support, as one indicator of interpersonal relations,
largely embodies family support (Hirsch & Ellis, 1995) and community
support (De Man & LabrecheGauthier, 1991), whereas social isolation (De
Man, 1988) and interpersonal stressors (Duberstein, Conwell, & Caine, 1993)
depict a negative aspect of human relations.
The relationship between social support and suicide was originally
established by Durkheim (1897/1951). In Durkheim's view, suicide ideation
varies inversely with social integration--the extent to which an individual
is close to family and community. Previous studies have supported
Durkheim's proposition that the more social support a person receives from
the family or community, the less he or she experiences suicide ideation
(de Man & Labreche-Gauthier, 1991; de Man, Labreche-Gauthier, & Leduc,
1993; de Man & Leduc, 1995; Hirsch &Ellis, 1995; Howard-Pitney et al.,
1992; Whatley & Clopton, 1992; Yang & Clum, 1994). On the other hand,
interpersonal conflict (Meneese & Yutrzenka, 1990; Shagle & Barber, 1993),
divorced parents (Brubeck & Beer, 1992; Hirsch & Ellis, 1995),
interpersonal stress (Duberstein et al., 1993; Zautra et al., 1994),
loneliness or social isolation (De Man, 1988; Rich, Kirkpatrick-Smith, &
Bonner, 1992), and poor quality friendship or lack of interpersonal trust
(Cole et al., 1992; Lester & Gatto, 1990) have all been shown to be
positive correlates of suicide ideation.
As a broad concept, interpersonal relations can be defined as either
positive or negative. Negative interpersonal relations include difficulty
in interactions, interpersonal conflict, and social isolation. To narrow
the scope of the current study to a more manageable degree, we examined
only the effects of negative interpersonal relations on suicide ideation.
With three factors of negative interpersonal relations and two factors of
social psychological status in a LISREL model (Figure 1), and based on
previous literature, we hypothesized that
1. each of the aspects of negative interpersonal relations will have a
positive effect on an individual's suicidal ideation;
2. the effects of the interpersonal relations on suicide ideation will be
mediated by either depression or self-esteem;
3. among the three exogenous factors, interpersonal conflict will have a
greater total effect On suicide ideation than interaction difficulty, and
social isolation will have the weakest predictive power.
DIAGRAM: FIGURE 1. The path model of interpersonal relations, psychological
statuses, and suicide ideation (for the indicators measuring each factor,
see Table 2). The arrow on each path line does not necessarily indicate a
causal relation (as it usually does) because causal data were not available
for the current research.
The data for this study were obtained through a newspaper survey from a
national sample of 1,433 Chinese individuals from 29 provinces,
municipalities, and autonomous regions. Originally, we intended to include
all the 30 areas in China where the newspaper is circulated, but Tibet had
to be omitted because no responses were received from there. Shandong
Provice provided, the most responses (127), accounting for 8.9% of the
total; Hainan provided the least (9), accounting for 0.6% of the total. The
variance in population partially explains the difference in the number of
responses from each area. Details of the response distributions from the 29
areas are available from the authors on request.
The 50-item questionnaire was printed in the March 11, 1995, issue of
Jiankang Bao (The Journal of Health), an official daily newspaper issued by
the Chinese Ministry of Health with a nationwide circulation of 450,000. In
the brief letter accompanying the questionnaire, readers were asked kindly
to answer the questions by checking the most appropriate choice for each of
the 50 items and then to mail it back to the editorial office of the
newspaper in Beijing. The questionnaire took an average respondent about 10
min to complete. Respondents paid for the postage when they returned the
questionnaire but were promised the research results as soon as they were
Many readers of The Journal of Health were concerned about their health and
were convinced that the results of the research would benefit people,
including themselves. This was a major incentive for most respondents to
cooperate with the data collection. Within a period of 2 months, more than
1,500 responses were received, of which 1,458 arrived before the deadline,.
1 month after the questionnaire was printed. Twenty-five responses received
in time were excluded because they were incomplete or because responses
appeared to have been checked arbitrarily. Thus, 1,433 responses were
retained for analyses.
Given that anonymity was assured and no sensitive or politically loaded
questions were asked, responses were assumed to be valid. The demographic
characteristics of the sample are reported in Table I. There were
approximately the same number of men (50.9%) as women (49.1%) responding to
and completing the survey, and the characteristics of the sample were not
much different from those of the population in China.
In addition to demographic questions and many other topics, the
questionnaire included items on interpersonal relations, depression,
self-esteem, and suicidal ideation (see Appendix).
The measurement of interpersonal relations consisted of 22 items on the
quality of a respondent's relationship with family members and colleagues
rated on a 6-point scale ranging from strongly agree (6) to strongly
disagree (1). There were also two direct questions on the frequency of
interpersonal conflict during the past year. All 24 items were developed by
the current authors based on their knowledge of human relations within the
context of Chinese culture, politics, economy, and history.
A factor analysis of the 24 items yielded six dimensions of interpersonal
relations: relationship with spouse or lover, interaction difficulty,
interpersonal conflict with family members or colleagues, social isolation,
social support, and attitudes about human relations. The Appendix contains
the English version of the 24 items. The three measures selected for our
current research were difficulty in interactions (10, 11, 12, 13, and 16),
interpersonal conflict (1, 2, and 7), and social isolation (17, 19, and
20). (The number for each variable in the parentheses is the actual number
that appears in the questionnaire, and this rule is followed throughout
this article.) Reliability tests yielded high coefficients for the three
measures. The alpha values for difficulty in interactions, interpersonal
conflict, and social isolation were .677, .660, and .597, respectively.
We used the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale constructed
by Radloff (1977) to measure depression, but of the 20 items of the
original scale, we selected only 5 for the sake of brevity. The choice of
the 5 was based on our previous experience with a Chinese college student
sample, for which the reliability and validity of the 5 items measuring
depression were adequately high (Zhang & Jin, 1996). The 5 items asked
respondents how many days in I week they felt "bothered," "blue," "sad,"
"lonely," and "depressed." A factor analysis led us to remove "lonely" from
the scale; thus, 4 items constituted the final scale on depression. A
reliability test of the 4 items yielded an alpha coefficient of .914,
indicating that the selected questions are good and reliable measures of
depression for the Chinese sample.
We measured self-esteem on a scale modified from Rosenberg's Self-Esteem
Scale (Rosenberg, 1965). Respondents were asked to Comment on four
descriptions about themselves: (a) "On the whole, I am satisfied with
myself"; (b) "My mistakes outweigh my merits"; (c) "Most other people are
better than I am"; and (d) "I don't have much confidence in my future."
Instead of Rosenberg's original 4-point scale, a 6-point scale anchored by
strongly agree and strongly disagree was used to increase variance. All but
the first item were re-coded so that a higher value indicated higher
self-esteem. The alpha coefficient for the scale was .691, a fairly high
level of reliability for the four items to measure self-esteem in the
We measured suicide ideation with the same two items we used in our
previous cross-cultural research on Chinese and U.S. college students'
suicide ideation (Zhang & Jin, 1996). One item asked the respondents how
many times during the past year they had thought about killing themselves,
and the other asked how many times during the past year they had prepared
or had planned to kill themselves. Answers to both questions ranged from
never (coded as 1) to three or more than three times (coded as 4). The
reliability test of the two items yielded an alpha value of .490.
The means and standard deviations of all the variables used in the analysis
are reported in Table 2. To ensure the accuracy and validity of the
measurements on depression and self-esteem, we, along with several other
bilingual psychologists in China, made a translation and back-translation
of the items.
Methods of Analyses
We used linear structural equation analysis (LISREL VII; J[non ascii
character]reskog & S[non ascii character]rborn, 1989) to test the
theoretical model. As a combination of factor analysis and multiple
regression, LISREL uses latent constructs in a path model. Because each
construct in the model can be measured by multiple observed variables,
accuracy in estimating the underlying relationships and constructs can be
significantly enhanced. All of the latent constructs and their
corresponding observed variables in the model are reported in Table 2.
Suicide Ideation and Rates for Suicide Planning
In response to the two questions about suicide ideation, 28.3% reported
that they had thought about committing suicide at least once during the
past year, whereas only 7.7% of the sample admitted having planned or
prepared for a suicide. Obvious gender differences for the two variables
existed: 22.2% of the men versus 34.7% of the women reported thinking about
suicide at least once during the past year, and 4.9% of the men versus
10.9% of the women reported planning their suicides. Chi-square analyses of
the effect of gender on the two ratings for suicide ideation indicated that
gender was associated with thinking about or planning suicide (p < .001).
Independent Variables in the Path Model
Our major purpose in this study was to assess the effects of interpersonal
relations on an individual's suicide ideation through psychological
factors. Thus, linear structural equations analysis (LISREL VII) instead of
multiple regression was used in the statistical procedure because two or
more indicators were available for each factor used in the model. With more
items measuring each latent variable, the model could be accurately tested.
LISREL conducts a factor analysis of the variables that measure the
different latent constructs and simultaneously assesses the coefficients
of the measurement and structural models. Factor analysis focuses on a
measurement model that specifies which variables are allowed to load on
which factors and provides estimates of factor loadings and error variances
for each of the measured variables.
Results of the LISREL measurement are reported in Table 2. The squared
multiple correlation coefficient (r2) indicates the percentage of variance
in each variable represented by its latent construct. The r2 for suicidal
ideation was .346, meaning that about 34% of variance in suicidal ideation
was explained by the model. With an r2 of .461 for depression, we know that
about 46% of the variance in depression was accounted for by its
independent variables. Self-esteem had an r2 of .446, which indicates that
about 45% of the variance in self-esteem was explained by its independent
variables in the model. All the factor loadings (the lambdas in Table 2)
were significant, and no adjustments were suggested by the analysis.
LISREL provides several major approaches to test the measurement model.
Chi-square analysis indicates the difference between the observed and the
expected values, with a higher value indicating greater differences.
Therefore, we hoped to find a small chi-square relative to the degrees of
freedom to indicate that the theoretical model fit the data. For this
model, the chi-square value was 603.99 with 174 degrees of freedom. For
each degree of freedom, the chi-square value was only 3.47, which is small
enough to indicate a good match of the model and data. sure of the relative
amount of variance and covariance accounted for by the model and is
independent of the sample size: The overall GFI between the model and the
data indicates the closeness of the model to the data; the closer the value
of GFI is to 1, the closer the model is to the data. In this model, we had
a GFI of .957, which was another indication of the good fit of the model to
Root mean square residual (RMSR) is a measure of the average departure on
each indicator of the model from the data. A smaller RMSR means smaller
errors in the measurement. With a RMSR of .032 for this model, we know
that, on average, about 3% of the unexplained variance attended each
indicator. As can be seen from Figure 1, the theoretical model being tested
consisted of three endogenous variables (depression, self-esteem, and
suicidal ideation) and three exogenous variables (difficulty in
interactions, interpersonal conflict, and social isolation). The figure
also illustrates the results in terms of standardized regression
coefficients in the path model. Coefficients of standardized solution were
used because they allowed us to compare the strength of association for
variables measured differently. All the standardized coefficients were
significant at the .01 probability level.
The R2s of the three endogenous variables were .461 for depression, .446
for self-esteem, and .346 for suicidal ideation. Although alternative
models exist for explaining suicidal ideation in the Chinese sample, the
current model adequately predicted the dependent variable, with about 35%
of variance in suicidal ideation accounted for by the model.
Among the three interpersonal relation factors, difficulty in interactions
(.134) and interpersonal conflict (.488) had a direct and positive
relationship to the frequency of suicide ideation, whereas the direct
effect of social isolation on suicidal ideation did not exist. The more
difficulties an individual had in interacting with family members and
colleagues and the more conflicts in which he or she was engaged, the
higher the level of suicide ideation.
However, the effect of social isolation on suicide ideation materialized
through the two psychological factors. People with high levels of social
isolation were more likely to have high scores on depression (.100) and low
scores on self-esteem (-. 105), whereas scores on depression were
positively correlated (.218) and scores on self-esteem were negatively
correlated (-.172) with the frequency of suicide ideation. Actually, all
three measures of interpersonal relations predicted suicide ideation
through one or both of the psychological measures. Although depression and
self-esteem were both important correlates of suicide ideation, the former
(.218) was a slightly stronger predictor than the latter (-. 172).
Although difficulty in interactions and interpersonal conflict both
affected suicide ideation positively by direct and indirect paths
(depression and self-esteem), interpersonal conflict had a greater total
effect than difficulty in interactions did. If the total effect of an
independent variable can be calculated with direct effect plus indirect
effect plus another indirect effect, with the correlation coefficients
provided in Figure 1, we have the following results:
1. The total effect of difficulty in interactions on suicidal ideation
through depression and self-esteem was .303.
2. The total effect of interpersonal conflict on suicidal ideation through
depression was .570.
3. The total effect of social isolation on suicidal ideation through
depression and self-esteem was .040.
In general, all three hypotheses have been supported by the data, although
some small modifications (described earlier) are noticeable.
The suicide ideation and suicide planning rates (28.3% and 7.7%,
respectively) in this study are similar to those found in earlier research
(Zhang & Jin, 1996), in which a sample of Chinese college students was
used, and in which the two rates were, respectively, 34.4% and 4.4%. The
differences could be explained by at least two obvious reasons: the sample
and the measurements. The characteristics of the college students surveyed
for the previous study should be different from those of the general
population used in the current study. According to what we know from U.S.
studies, college students usually score higher than other populations on
suicide ideation (Hirsch & Ellis, 1995; Neyra, Range, & Goggin, 1990; Rudd,
1989). The measurements for suicide ideation and planning in the two
research projects are also different. In the previous survey, we asked "how
many times.., in the past few years," whereas the phrase "in the past one
year" was used in the current study.
The suicide ideation and planning rates found in the current study are
significantly lower than those found in most U.S. samples (Strang &
Orlofsky, 1990; Wellman & Wellman, 1988; Zhang & Jin, 1996; Zhang & Thomas,
1991). We may attribute the lower rates to certain social factors in China.
A higher level of social integration, a homogeneous and less anomic
lifestyle, and a lower level of social competition are all plausible
As found in the previous research (Zhang & Jin, 1996), the suicide ideation
and attempt rates for women (34.7%, 10.9%) were higher than those for men
(22.2%, 4.9%). This finding is also consistent with the results from
studies by Saxon, Aldrich, and Kuncel (1978), Simons and Murphy (1985), and
Salmons and Harrington (1984). This gender difference in Chinese suicide
ideation is in accord with actual suicide rates in China. In a descriptive
analysis of suicides in Beijing, China, from 1992 to 1993, Zhang (1996)
reported that far more Chinese women committed suicide than Chinese men
(55.4% vs. 44.6%), which is a surprising reverse of the gender difference
found in almost all other countries.
The higher rates for women for both ideation and completed suicides in
China may be accounted for by the traditional Chinese culture. Generally,
Chinese women have had lower status than Chinese men throughout history,
especially with respect to family and marital issues. When problems arise,
women are more likely to be blamed and held responsible for whatever caused
the problems. Therefore, Chinese women may be more likely to feel depressed
and helpless and think about suicide or go to extremes to solve a problem.
Additional studies are needed to address the unique gender difference in
Chinese suicide rates.
The effects of interpersonal relations on suicide ideation have not been
adequately studied in the past. The current research addresses this issue
with three negative relational aspects in a path model. As illustrated in
Figure 1, all the measures of interpersonal relations investigated in the
model predict the frequency of suicide ideation significantly, and the
predictive power varies from one to another. With all other independent
variables kept constant, interpersonal conflict has proved to be the
strongest predictor of suicide ideation, and social isolation is the
In addition to the fact that social isolation is the poorest predictor
among the three, it lacks a direct association with suicide ideation, and
its relationships to depression and self-esteem are also weak (although
significant). It is apparent that this finding does not strongly support
Durkheim's (1897/1951) thesis that suicide varies inversely with social
integration. If Durkheim were right, social isolation, that is, lack of
social support, should be the strongest factor among the three to predict
suicide ideation, because, in the current measurements, social isolation is
closest to social support or social disintegration.
In this model, in which a Chinese sample was used, interpersonal conflict
and difficulty in interactions were strongly and positively related to
suicide ideation, perhaps because of the importance of interpersonal
relations in Chinese society. Negative relations with people can make a
Chinese individual feel unhappy, uneasy, depressed, or bad about himself
and even cause the individual to think about suicide. This response is
perhaps more pronounced in Chinese culture.
If "making and maintaining friendships" and "having positive, warm
relationships" are the most important factors that make people happy
(Berscheid, 1985), they are even more important for Chinese people. As the
foundations of Chinese culture, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism all
emphasize the importance of building and maintaining positive human
relations. Because of the cultural tradition and especially the political
structure in the communist regime, guanxi (connections, influence, or a
good relationship with people) has become the key to success for people in
China. An informal observation indicates that ordinary Chinese people, who
want to be successful at work have to spend about 50% to 70% of their time
and energy dealing with relations with colleagues and bosses at work. For
Chinese people, a good interpersonal relationship means much more than
That interpersonal conflict and difficulty in interactions are more
important than social isolation in predicting Chinese people's suicide
ideation does not necessarily rule out Durkheim's thesis of social
integration. However, few studies have been conducted for suicide and
suicide ideation in China, and Durkheim's theory, which was developed in
the West, may be inadequate in explaining the phenomenon in the East. More
research is needed to test Durkheim's proposition for the Chinese
Address correspondence to Jie Zhang, who is now at the Department of
Sociology, SUNY College at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14222. E-mail:
Demographic Characteristics of the Respondents
Variable Valid cases Valid %
Gender 1,417 100
Male 721 50.9
Female 696 49.1
Age (years) 1430 100
< 25 426 29.8
26-40 466 32.6
41-55 383 26.8
> 56 155 10.8
Residential area 1,423 100
Large city 244 17.1
Medium city 434 30.5
Small town 433 30.4
Village 312 21.9
Educational level 1,424 100
Junior high or less 171 12.0
High school 517 36.3
Two-year college 495 34.8
Four-year college 210 14.7
Graduate school 31 2.2
Occupation 1,428 100
Executive manager 86 6.0
Ordinary manager 162 11:3
Managing personnel 95 6.7
Professional 783 54.8
Staff 92 6.4
Worker 60 4.2
Retired 87 6.1
Other 63 4.4
Monthly income* 1,417 100
[yen]250 or lower 235 16.6
[yen]251-[yen]500 692 48.8
[yen]501-[yen]1,000 418 29.5
[yen]1,001-[yen]1,800 54 3.8
over [yen]1,800 18 1.3
Marital status 1,426 100
Single 448 31.4
Married 906 63.5
Separated 37 2.6
Divorced 29 2.0
Widowed 6 0.4
*The exchange rate in 1995 was approximately [yen]8.50 to USS1.00. TABLE 2
Squared Multiple Correlations Between the Latent Constructs and Their
Observed Variables in the LISREL Model Latent construct/ [lambda] Observed
variables M SD r2 t value Difficulty in interactions Uneasy (10) 3.6 1.8
.22 Unpleasant (11) 3.4 1.7 .28 12.48* Quarrel (12) 2.4 1.5 .27 12.33* Bias
(13) 2.8 1.5 .50 14.19* Alert (16) 3.0 1.6 .24 11.95* Interpersonal
conflict Conflict (1) 3.5 1.4 .39 Refusal (2) 3.8 1.4 .57 17.75* Stress (7)
2.1 1.4 .28 14.59* Social isolation Enjoy alone (17) 3.6 1.5 .24 More time
alone (19) 3.8 1.7 .67 11.74* Little sharing (20) 3.6 1.7 .19 11.06*
Self-esteem Merits (25) 4.7 1.5 .39 Better (26) 4.2 1.6 .38 16.42*
Satisfied (27) 4.4 1.4 .33 15.55* Confident (28) 4.0 1.8 .39 16.49*
Depression Bothered (29) 2.7 1.5 .72 Blues (30) 2.6 1.4 .73 38.32* Sad (31)
2.2 1.4 .75 39.11* Depressed (32) 2.6 1.5 .72 37.76* Suicide ideation Think
(33) 1.6 1.0 .71 Plan (34) 1.1 .4 .28 12.98*
Note. Each r2 indicates percentage of variance in each item represented by
its latent construct. The items without a t value are reference variables.
The numbers in parentheses are the actual numbers that appear in the
questionnaire. *p < .01.
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The English Translation of the Interpersonal Relation Items (presented in
the order in which they appeared in the questionnaire)
1. How many times in the past year have you had direct conflicts with
family members and/or colleagues?
2. How many colleagues and/or family members have you rejected in your own
mind (without telling them) during the past year?
3. I have the very same understanding of life and life interests that my
spouse (or lover) has.
4. I trust my spouse (or lover).
5. I depend on my spouse (or lover) emotionally.
6. My spouse and I have harmonious sexual relations.
7. I have a stressful relationship with my family members.
8. I often feel lonely even though I live among family members and
9. I get along well with my colleagues.
10. I often feel uneasy because of my poor relationships with family
members and col-leagues.
11. I am always in a bad mood for a long time after I have disagreements
12. It is easy for me to engage in a quarrel with others.
13. I feel that many people are biased against me.
14 Whenever I face pressures in life, I feel that there are always people
offering me moral support.
15. I find it easy to make friends and maintain friendships.
16. I am always on the alert against hurts from others.
17. I have more fun when I am alone than when I am with other people.
18. I feel that nobody truly loves me.
19. I spend more time alone than with others.
20. I seldom share with others the frustration and difficulties in my
21. The members of my family are really concerned about each other.
22. When it is necessary, I can rely on my family to overcome difficulties.
23. I feel that as time has passed, people have become distant from each
24. I feel that as time has passed, my interactions with other people have
become more and more difficult.
The first two questions (1 and 2) required respondents to answer on a scale
ranging from 0 to 4 or more. All other questions were answered on a scale
with six choices: strongly agree (6), agree (5), agree to some extent (4),
disagree to some extent (3), disagree (2), or strongly disagree (1).
Received February 21, 1997
By JIE ZHANG and SHENGHUA JIN
Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Georgia Southern University
Department of Psychology; Beijing Normal University, China