Suicide is multifarious and a major concern for public health [1, 2]. It is a diverse, less comprehensible, life-threatening phenomenon. This could be due to people’s minute ability to have a complete access to and knowledge of a potential ‘suicider’; as several studies have documented the suicidal intentions concealment of most victims [3, 4, 5].  noted that one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds despite progress in national prevention strategies, consequently it has become the second leading cause of death among youths. Suicide is predominant among the youth.  observed that the reports of suicide is rare in children under the age of 10, but in the developed world, the prevalence begins to increase for youths between 10 to 14 years of age, and 15 to 24 years age group ; while among their Nigeria counterparts, the prevalence is 13-29years, and 18- 35years age group . These age brackets remarkably appear to be “transitory-into-productive” age(s) where most youth in mainly under-developed (and in some western) worlds are transiting from tertiary institutions into the uncertain world of labour markets.
Stresses of completing tertiary education as well as worries about unemployment, poverty and destitution, economic crises, feelings of insecurity, marginalization (including biases) and economic disempowerment  are as enormous in the society as requiring adequate knowledge of coping. Failure to adequately cope greatly increases the chances of severing youths (who at their age, are battling to have firm superego identity) from the traditional values and moral regulations which seemed to have earlier provided moral foundation and guide; leading to thoughts of suicide and its eventful act. This could account for scholars [9, 10] report that suicidal thoughts are more common among younger age group.
Stress is no longer new to people as it has permeated every aspect of humanity. Hence, the present study would emphasize academic stress. Undergraduateship is not devoid of challenges and stressful circumstances, and such are not limited to adapting to new academic environment, academic workload, academic performance, attending to lectures, overwork, or future employment [11, 12], most seriously, social and financial stresses . These stressors whether short or long-term impact heavily on the coping (either adaptive or maladaptive) capacity of the undergraduates . Productive (adaptive) coping protects students against suicide and suicidal ideation [14, 15]; whereas, ineffective/dysfunctional (maladaptive) coping skills among students under persistent academic stress and negative emotions trigger higher suicidal incidences . The relationship between academic stress and suicidal ideation has been well documented in literature [17–19]. Generally, role of stressful life events in suicidal ideation, attempts and completion have been key areas of study in the epidemiology of mental disorders [20, 21]. Although, suicidal behaviour often occurs in the context of acute and chronic stressors , it does not seem to prove a causal link. The existing association could be coincidental or co-morbid in nature. Understanding the causal pathway between academic stress and suicidal ideation is very important to advance research in knowledge about suicide, intervention and treatment. This is an important contribution the current study offers to the body of knowledge.
 noted that coping is a conscious effort to reduce stress, with coping strategies entailing the masterful ways of tolerating, reducing or minimizing stressful events. The conceptualization and categorization of different coping styles is inconsistent in literature (cf. . Thus, we considered coping as a unidimensional construct and scale . Notwithstanding divergent opinions on conceptions of coping, coping has colossal impacts on stress (academic not exempted) and suicidal ideation as well as action. For instance, behavioural disengagement and self-blame have been shown to increase suicidal vulnerability , with deficient coping and problem solving skills being strongly linked to suicidal ideation [27, 28], and passive coping (usually fantasizing) positively associated with suicidal ideation , as well as ineffective coping skills and negative emotions triggering higher risk of suicide . Coping skills such as active coping and positive reframing were negatively associated with suicide, whereas, coping skills like self-distraction, substance abuse, behavioural disengagement, venting, and self-blame were positively associated with suicide e.g. .
Beside these direct associations, psychopathological factors, including depression , hopelessness , and psychological distress , have been tested as mediators between life stress and suicide ideation, with less research enquiries involving resilience. Resilience is an individual’s tendency to bounce back to a previous state of normal functioning, or simply not showing negative effects after stress and adversity. Resilience could be explained as one’s ability to pick-up from strenuous challenges , and could be positively associated with one’s unique characteristic that helps boost such a person’s surviving adaptation and invariably moderates those unpleasant side-effects of stress. It has been documented that resilient persons are more likely to exhibit adaptive lifestyles; with respect, particularly, to social functioning, morale and somatic health, yet still encounter, practice or are optimistic even amidst difficulties . Consequently, it has been argued that resilience and the resiliency theory may help to promote healing at deeper, softer but yet more efficacious level . The relationship between resilience and well-being has been proposed to be mediated by positive view of the self, the world and the future . Studies  have found youths’ perceived resilience associated with less suicidal ideation, whereas higher psychological distress was associated with higher suicidal ideation. Furthermore, depression had been linked to suicidal ideations while anxiety, mental health, resiliency, and daily stresses were also noted to play significant roles in suicidal ideation . Again, resilience dimensions such as social resources and familial cohesion were strongly and negatively correlated with humiliation, interpersonal sensitivity, and depression in subjects with previous suicidal attempts .
To our knowledge, fewer or no studies have examined coping as a moderator and resilience as a mediator between academic stress and suicide ideation as well as its act; perhaps in just one study. However, some studies had investigated coping as a moderator on the relationship between stress (not necessarily academic stress) and suicide ideation e.g., . We assume that coping will have a moderating impact on suicidal ideation (and its act) and academic stress of undergraduates who adopt functional or adaptive coping, unlike those who do not; while resilience will mediate the path of the relationship. The Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model IM-VM  explains this relationship. According to IM-VM model, defeat and entrapment are the primary drivers of suicidal ideation, and that, acquired capability along with other factors (e.g., access to lethal means, planning, etc) explain the propensity to act on suicidal thoughts. In this context, defeat and entrapment may be predisposed by academic stress. For instance, a student who is stressed but adopts dysfunctional or ineffective coping styles (blaming oneself for problems, ignoring them, or escaping through fantasizing thoughts) when confronted with the aforementioned potential stressors may begin to consider suicide as an option to end the perturbation . On the contrary, those who may adopt effective or functional strategies (positive reevaluation, planning, and seeking out support) might not contemplate suicide as optional . In other words, coping could either increase or decrease the effect of academic stress on suicidal ideation and its act whereas resilience helps them to bounce back having adaptively coped with academic stress. Therefore, we hypothesize that students who practice negative or dysfunctional coping skills to academic stress are more vulnerable to suicidal ideation (and perhaps the act) than those who do not (H1) and that resilience will help them bounce back (H2). In other words, less adaptive or functional coping skills and poor resilience on the negative impact of academic stress increases the likelihood of students’ suicidal ideation and acts.
In comparison to most western societies, single studies on the moderating roles of coping and mediating roles of resilience on academic stress and suicidal ideation in a Nigerian sample are very rare. Also, studies with Nigerian (and perhaps other) samples had rather dominated the areas of protective and risk factors for suicidal behaviour and ideation e.g., [44–47]. Our study becomes germane as it advances the knowledge quest of suicide.
The understandings that suicidal ideation may decrease among undergraduates because of adaptive or functional coping skills; and that students who practice functional coping skills may suppress the negative experiences, anxiety, and psychological distress that emanate due to academic stress, is very crucial in proposing and inculcating a positive academic survival approach. This outcome could equally be transferred into other domains of students’ lives; even after school. This study is essential to policy makers, educational administrators, parents, students and the society as no one is exempted from the scorching heat of rampant suicide among undergraduates- a generational transitory population. Therefore, the study encourages the stakeholders to teach and practice adaptive coping skills whose ripple effects do not only reduce suicidal ideation but help in healthy living.