Julie Lutz

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy Fiske

Committee Co-Chair

Barry Edelstein

Committee Member

Julie Hicks Patrick


Perceived burdensomeness is a major risk factor in the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide, and may be particularly relevant in the older population, in which suicide rates are relatively high. However, there is currently only one widely-used measure of perceived burdensomeness, and there is currently little information on the validity of this measure for older adults. The aims were to 1) evaluate measurement invariance of the INQ-15 Perceived Burdensomeness subscale across younger and older adult age groups, and 2) evaluate the construct validity of the Perceived Burdensomeness subscale in younger and older adult age groups by comparing nomological networks in both age groups. Nested multi-group confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were used to address measurement invariance, whereas Fisher's r-to-z transformations were used to compare correlations between perceived burdensomeness and other constructs in younger and older samples. The results of the measurement invariance analysis generally supported invariance, but signals of differences in fit in older adults were present. Correlations between perceived burdensomeness and other constructs were mostly similar. However, the INQ-15 Perceived Burdensomeness subscale exhibited a significantly lower correlation with depressive symptoms in older adults compared to younger adults. This study suggests that there may be some conceptual or measurement differences in perceived burdensomeness between younger and older adults.