Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gutierrez, Peter M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Suicide--Risk factors--Evaluation; Depression; Mental--Social aspects; Body image in adolescence; Eating disorders in adolescence; Social networks; Self-esteem in adolescence; Clinical psychology


There is much empirical literature on factors for adolescent suicide risk, but body image and disordered eating are rarely included in these models. In the current study, disordered eating and body image were examined as risk factors for suicide ideation. It was hypothesized that disordered eating and body image, in addition to depressive symptoms, would contribute to suicide ideation and that these relationships would be stronger for females than for males. Structural equation modeling was used to test a risk model incorporating the above factors in a sample of 392 high school students. Results indicated that disordered eating contributed to both suicide ideation and depressive symptoms, while body image only directly contributed to depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms contributed to suicide ideation. The model was found to be cross-validated with males and females, and no gender differences emerged. Additionally, self-esteem, peer support, and parent support were examined as protective factors. It was hypothesized that these protective factors would serve as moderators between suicide ideation and disordered eating, body image, and depression. Moderation was tested using linear regression. All three protective factors were found to moderate the relationship between suicide ideation and disordered eating. Self-esteem and parent support moderated the relationship between suicide ideation and depression, but peer support did not. Implications of these findings and their importance in constructing future models of adolescent suicide risk are discussed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-117)


v, 141 pages




Northern Illinois University

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