Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Vicky Phares

Keywords

suicidal behavior, teenagers, impulsive personality, inpatient, children, impulsive, hopeless, suicide

Abstract

Incidence of suicide has been shown to increase dramatically during adolescence. Despite an established pattern of depression and hopelessness leading to suicide in adults, no such pattern emerges in the adolescent literature. Recent investigations suggest that impulsivity may play a key role in adolescent suicide attempts. This study examined the role of impulsivity in adolescent suicidal gestures, as well as the relationships among demographic variables, anger expression, impulsivity, and suicidal behavior. A total of 100 participants (ages 11-17; 71 females and 29 males) were recruited from 2 inpatient crisis centers for children. The Children's Depression Inventory, Hopelessness Scale for Children, Adolescent Behavior Checklist, Pediatric Anger Expression Scale, and Suicide Intent Scale were administered to inpatients, and demographic information was obtained (age, gender, ethnicity, income, and structure of family).

It was hypothesized that patterns of depression, anger, hopelessness, and impulsivity would vary by age, gender, ethnicity, and suicidality (e.g., suicidal gesture vs. no gesture). The large majority of hypotheses were not supported. Results are explained in terms of alternative theories for the role of impulsivity in adolescent suicidal gestures.

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