Date of Award:

10-2016

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Jared C. Schultz

Abstract

Suicidality is a major public health issue and is more common among people with disabilities. However, relatively little is known about the context and specifics of suicidality among adults with disabilities compared to their peers without disabilities. This dissertation presents three different analyses of suicidality and disability using a sample of American adults. Chapter I introduces the topic and dataset. Chapter II presents an analysis of the internal consistency, mean scores, and response patterns on the Suicidal Behavior Questionnaire—Revised (SBQ-R) by disability status in order to establish the internal of the measure in people with disabilities and explore the uniformity of suicidality in people with and without disabilities. Participants with disabilities tended to more frequently endorse response choices consistent with increased past, current, and perceived future suicidality. Chapter III presents an analysis of the relationship between suicidality, disability, and psychiatric disability. Disability remained a significant predictor of suicidality even when depressive symptoms were included in the analysis, and psychiatric disability predicted greater suicidality within the disability subsample, even when depressive symptoms were controlled for via statistical analysis. Chapter IV presents an analysis of suicidality and disability within the context of both depressive symptoms and sociodemographic risk and protective factors for suicidality. Participants with disabilities experienced more sociodemographic risk factors than participants without disabilities; however, disability status remained a significant predictor of suicidality even when sociodemographic risk and protective factors, as well as depressive symptoms, were included in the analysis. Chapter V summarizes and concludes the dissertation, including our consistent and major finding that disability is linked to significantly higher suicidality, even when depression and sociodemographic risk factor are accounted for in statistical analysis.

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