Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adolescent sexual assault and suicidal behaviors: Investigating a national sample
by Tomasula, Jessica L., M.A., East Carolina University, 2010, 62; 1480461
Abstract (Summary)

This study was designed to shed light on two public health concerns: sexual assault and suicidal behaviors among the adolescent population. Sexual assault history, sex differences, and the combination of both sexual assault history and sex were examined when considering suicidal behaviors among high-school adolescents. This study utilized responses from the most recent national survey, 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Adolescents reporting a history of sexual assault were approximately six times (OR=6.384) more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year when compared to adolescents reporting no history of sexual assault. When examining each sex separately, the relationship was stronger for males: Males reporting a history of sexual assault were nearly ten times (OR=9.757) as likely to have attempted suicide at least once in the past year when compared to males reporting no such history. Females reporting a history of sexual assault were nearly five times (OR=4.712) more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous twelve months when compared to females reporting no such history. When examining suicidal behaviors among adolescents reporting a sexual assault history, the rates between male and female adolescents were indistinguishable. That is, on average, 26% of males and females with a sexual assault history attempted suicide within the past 12 months. In order to investigate the impact on suicide attempts requiring medical attention, the final, iterative logistic regression models included age, sexual assault history, and sex x sexual assault history as an interaction term. A statistically significant sex x sexual assault history emerged, Wald χ 2 (1, 40)=11.00, p=.002 (See Figure 1) when examining responses from adolescents reporting suicidal behavior within the past 12 months. That is, males reporting a sexual assault history reported suicide attempts requiring medical attention more frequently than male suicide attempters without sexual assault histories, as well as both groups of female suicide attempters—both with and without sexual assault histories. Implications for the existing literature base and potential school-based suicide prevention and intervention programs are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Anderson, Laura M., Littleton, Heather L.
Commitee: Hall, Cathy W., Riley-Tillman, T. Chris
School: East Carolina University
Department: Psychology: School Psychology
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 49/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: High school adolescents, Implications for prevention and intervention programs, National sample, Sexual assault, Suicidal behaviors, YRBS
Publication Number: 1480461
ISBN: 9781124187327
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