Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Psychology
Ralph (Gene) E. Cash
Jeffrey L. Kibler
Alexandru F. Cuc
active suicidal ideation, adolescents, family relationships, gender differences, passive suicidal ideation, risky behaviors
Adolescent suicide is a serious and growing problem among adolescents. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to try and identify predictors of suicidal ideation. The first objective was to examine whether the level of engagement in risky behavior predicts an increase in total suicidal ideation above and beyond other well-known risk factors (i.e., family functioning, gender, and problem-solving skills). The second objective was to investigate whether different types of risky behaviors (i.e., internalizing versus externalizing) predict different forms of suicidal ideation (i.e., passive versus active) above and beyond perceived family functioning, gender, and problem-solving skills. The pre-test archival data of 358 students who participated in a weekly problem-solving group were analyzed. Using four questionnaires, their perceived family functioning, knowledge of the problem-solving process, number of risk-taking behaviors, and level of suicidal ideation were assessed during the first and last sessions. Gender and perceived family functioning uniquely and consistently contributed to the variance in active, passive and total suicidal ideation scores. The active, passive and total suicidal ideation scores of adolescent males were consistently lower than adolescent females. When compared to adolescents who described having no relationship with their families, those adolescents who reported having a good or great relationship with their families consistently reported lower passive, active, and total suicidal ideation scores. Having an okay relationship produced mixed results. Total risky behavior scores significantly predicted adolescents’ total suicidal ideation scores above and beyond perceived family functioning and gender. In addition, internalizing behaviors, but not externalizing behaviors, predicted an increase in passive, active, and total suicidal ideation scores above and beyond perceived family functioning and gender. Based on these findings, current screening, prevention and treatment programs would benefit from adding questions designed to determine an adolescent’s engagement in internalizing behaviors and how they perceive their family relationships. This may help in identifying at-risk adolescents earlier so that they can receive the help and support they require.
Golden, E. R.
(2018). The Relationship Between Adolescent Suicidality and Engagement in Risky Behaviors. .
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_stuetd/122