Suicide represents the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults (CDC, 2022). Many interventions employed on college campus focus on peer support which has been previously related to reductions in suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB, e.g., suicidal ideation, suicidal plan, suicide attempts), but students may not have the experience needed to increase confidence or knowledge in providing support (Hirsch & Barton, 2011; King et al., 2008). Further, previous research has identified factors including exposure to STB, direct engagement in STB, knowledge, and stigma regarding suicide which have had mixed impact on confidence and helping intentions in supporting someone in crisis (Chan et al., 2014; King et al., 2008; Otzurk & Akin, 2018; Schurtz et al., 2010). The current study aimed to expand previous research by examining university students’ ability, confidence level, and perceived ability to respond to a peer in suicidal crisis. The study further examined the relationships among these variables and explored predictors: exposure to STB, stigma, knowledge, and direct engagement in STB. An open response task using a vignette based on Jorm and colleagues’ (2018) interview was utilized to code responses for ability and sufficiency. Participants further completed questionnaires to measure their perceived ability, confidence, suicide stigma knowledge, exposure to STB in others, and direct engagement in STB. Findings from an undergraduate sample (N = 121) indicated that most participants (72.72%) sufficiently responded to a hypothetical peer in crisis. Students’ perceived ability and confidence level were moderate. Further, direct engagement, stigma, exposure to STB, and knowledge of suicide significantly predicted perceived ability to respond to a peer, (F (4 ,116) = 8.24, p < 0.001). Future directions for suicide prevention research in peer support interventions are offered.
Year manuscript completed
Year degree awarded
Suicide prevention, peer support, stigma, suicide literacy, exposure to STB
Hunter, Lindsey Katherine, "PEER RESPONSE AND ASSISTANCE TO SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIOR IN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS" (2023). Murray State Theses and Dissertations. 309.