Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Kral, M.


Psychology, Social.




Although the focus of much research on suicide is increasingly on attitudes towards suicide, no theoretical model of attitudes had yet been applied. The present study applied a model of attitudes (Ajzen, 1988) to an examination of sex differences in attitudes towards suicide and the suicidal among university students regarding three components of attitudes: cognitive, affective, and conative. In addition, the relation between attitudes towards suicide and self-reported previous experience with suicide was investigated. A sample of 773 undergraduates rated a vignette of a suicidal individual (i.e., target) for the degree to which they sympathized and empathized with the target (i.e., affective), the degree to which they perceived the potential suicide as acceptable (i.e., cognitive), and whether or not they would help the individual (i.e., conative). Females had significantly higher ratings of sympathy, empathy, and intention to help than did males. When the evaluator's previous experience with suicide was held constant, however, females had higher ratings of sympathy and intention to help only. Overall, the results indicate sex differences in both the affective and conative components of attitudes. These findings may begin to address the well documented sex difference in suicide completion rates as a function of attitudes, and also may have implications for primary prevention.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1994 .W345. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 34-02, page: 0899. Adviser: Michael J. Kral. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.