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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adolescent Suicide Prevention: Life Experiences Contributing to Suicidal Ideation Resilience
by Roberts, Monica L., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2018, 119; 10681251
Abstract (Summary)

Suicide is a significant public health problem. It is among the top three chief causes of death for young people, ages 10 to 24 years. The majority of studies on suicide focus on what causes suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts, and completed suicides (Dougherty, 2010; Shneidman, 1993; van Orden et al., 2010). While these studies are crucial, it is vital to understand why and how people survive and thrive. Focusing on prevention and resiliency, the research questions are as follows: why and how did participants decide against suicide when they were adolescents?

Thirty-two participants (16 males and 16 females) from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, ages 21 to 50 years, completed an anonymous online self-report questionnaire. The data were analyzed, using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis. The results identified four areas that motivated previously suicidal participants to not act on suicidal thinking during adolescence: social support and professional help, positive life event and/or circumstance, responsibility and/or purpose, and religious and/or spiritual experience. The underlying process for recovering from suicidal ideology entailed a positive emotional-perceptual shift toward resiliency via connectedness, hope, and love.

The adolescent suicidal ideation resiliency model was presented and explains why and how suicidal youths decide against suicide and continued to live. The model contributes to knowledge in the fields of psychology and suicide prevention. This work serves to inform mental health professionals, educators, parents, and youths on additional avenues to prevent suicides among adolescents and foster mental and emotional health and resilience. Implications indicated benefits of including holistic-humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and positive psychology therapies to treat depressed and suicidal children and adolescents. Implications also suggested the value of considering spirit-mind-body-emotions connection for overall well-being and sustainability of life. Several considerations that could reduce and prevent youth suicides were put forward for families, educators, mental health professionals, and policymakers in the discussion section. Further research could be conducted to understand suicidality reversal in adults and other populations that have elevated rates of suicide. Such research could point to solutions to help depressed and suicidal people recover and acquire positive mental and emotional health and wellness. 

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Serafini, Kelly
Commitee: MacDonald, Douglas A., Willmarth, Eric
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Adolescent suicidal ideation resiliency model, Positive psychology, Resilience and recovery, Spirit Mind Body Emotions, Suicidal ideation, Suicide prevention
Publication Number: 10681251
ISBN: 978-0-438-48874-8
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