Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Kral, M.


Psychology, Clinical.




This study sought to investigate how attachment, individuation, perceptions of family life, and family related experiences and relationships contribute to our understanding of suicidal ideation and attempt in adolescents. Adolescent volunteers (N = 153, 98 female and 55 male) recruited from four youth centers in Southwestern Ontario participated in a survey. Participants completed a series of questionnaires consisting of questions about early experiences (e.g., close relationships, abuse, addiction, suicide history), attachment in romantic relationships, emotional autonomy from parents, relationship with parents, perceptions of family life, depression and suicidal ideation. Results revealed significant differences based on suicide history (i.e., past attempt or ideation) with greater suicide history related to greater chance of loss due to separation, personal psychiatric problems, paternal alcohol problems, history of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and knowledge of the attempted or completed suicide of another. Adolescents who had attempted were more likely to have experienced personal drug and alcohol problems, and paternal drug problems, while those with a history of suicidal ideation were less likely to report experiencing such problems. Suicide attempters and ideators were more likely to fall into groups typified by preoccupied and fearful attachment, and less likely than those who reported no suicide related history to characterize themselves as secure or dismissive in relationships. History of suicide attempt and ideation were significantly associated with greater attachment anxiety, lower family cohesiveness and emotional expressiveness, greater family conflict, greater individuation, de-idealization of parents and perception of parents as separate people. Lower levels of family organization was associated with greater current suicidal ideation. Greater levels of hopelessness were associated with greater de-idealisation of parents, lower tolerance for close relationships, and greater satisfaction in close relationships. Current depression mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and hopelessness, and between ability to depend on others and hopelessness. Depression did not mediate the relationship between tolerance for relationship closeness and hopelessness, and only partially mediated the relationship between the multiplicative term (Close X Depend) and hopelessness. The results of this study suggest important ways in which our understanding of family factors can assist in our understanding and treatment of suicidality among adolescents.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .L43. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-10, Section: B, page: 5223. Adviser: Michael J. Kral. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.