Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Karen G. Anderson
Rates of suicidal behaviors vary over the lifespan, but little research has focused on developmental aspects of suicidal behaviors and associated risk factors. Previous studies suggest that young people who attempt or die by suicide are likely to be generally impulsive. 108 community-dwelling older adults age 60 and older and 498 undergraduate students ages 18-30 completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies -- Depression Scale, the Barratt Impulsivity Scale, and the Suicidal Behaviors Scale -- Revised. The hypothesis was that the relation between impulsivity and suicidal ideation or attempt, in the context of depressive symptoms, would be stronger in younger adults than in older adults. However, a three-way interaction between impulsivity, depressive symptoms, and age group to predict suicidal behaviors was not statistically significant. Contrary to expectations, impulsivity was not related to suicidal behaviors in younger adults, controlling for depressive symptoms. Exploratory analyses found that older adults were more likely than younger adults to report suicide attempts with a greater intent to die. The implications for treatment and future directions are discussed.
Price, Elizabeth C., "Impulsivity and Suicidal Ideation or Attempt in Younger and Older Adults" (2012). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 163.