Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Joe Bertinetti

Second Advisor

Dr. Ross Pilkington

Third Advisor

Dr. Bill Callaghan

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kevin Cahill


The purpose of the current study was to examine data to determine if "common demoninators" could define predictor variables for risk assessment of adolescent suicide. The aim of this project was to offer comparisons among hospitalized adolescent suicide "attempters" and "non-attempters", and outpatient adolescent suicide "attempters" and "non-attempters". The data was then compared with data from non-hospitalized adolescents nationally. The study was designed as a systematic investigation of archival data. The data was taken from hospital records including interview forms and psychological evaluations. The subject sample was randomly selected from a larger inpatient/outpatient population. Subjects ranged in age from 12 to 18, and included both males and females. Analysis methods used for the study falls into the category of non-parametric statistics. Chi-square statistical methods were used. For the purpose of this study statistical significance was accepted at the level of p<.05. The results of the study indicate that of the four hypotheses, only that which predicted adolescent inpatient attempters who reported abuse of drug and/or alcohol for themselves and/or family members were found to have a higher frequency of suicide attempts when compared to the other groups. However, the inpatient adolescent attempters who reported abuse of alcohol and other substances were not found to have a statistically significant higher rate of suicide attempts. Chi-square analysis did indicate that there was a significant difference beyond the .05 level when comparing the outpatient suicide attempter that had a history of incest with the inpatient groups, the outpatient non-attempter, and the national sample of adolescents. The other statistically significant finding was among outpatient adolescent attempters, 63.3% reported a history of physical abuse. Chi-square analysis indicated that this finding was significant at the .05 level. Though the finding does not support the predicted outcome hypothesis, it does offer a valuable clue to some of the dynamics underlying adolescent suicide.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Counseling and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Masters of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Julie M. Ohlund December, 1990