Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Sara Bridges

Committee Member

Pamela Cogdal

Committee Member

Rosie Phillips Davis

Committee Member

Patrick Murphy


Suicide is currently classified as a public health crisis due to the number of people that die by suicide each year. The majority of those that that are contemplating suicide disclose their thoughts to family and friends before mental health professionals. Non-mental health professionals can receive suicide prevention training in order to bolster their general understanding of suicide, otherwise known as suicide literacy. However, to date, there exists no research that has demonstrated a link between an individual’s level of suicide literacy and their intention to help someone at risk of suicide. To this end, we examined the association between suicide literacy and intention to help a person at risk of suicide. Due to the fact that demographic characteristics can impact many factors surrounding suicide, the demographic characteristics that predict suicide literacy were also examined. Suicide literacy was assessed using the Literacy of Suicide Scale which is a 26-item scale that encompasses the various aspects of suicide. Participants were also presented with a 13-item helping intentions measure that examines their likelihood to help someone experiencing varying levels of suicide risk. The helping intentions measure if further broken down into three subscales that are considered recommended helping actions (talking/listening, risk assessment, and encouraging professional help) and one non-recommended subscale. When examining the association between suicide literacy and a combination of the three levels of suicide risk, results indicated that there was a strong positive correlation between suicide literacy and the talking/listening subscale and the encouraging professional help subscale. There was also a strong negative association between suicide literacy and the non-recommended helping actions. With regards to demographic characteristics, identifying as a transgender woman or as a cisgender man uniquely predicted suicide literacy. The various implications on research, practice, and prevention efforts are discussed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access