Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Hale Martin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laurie Ivey, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Gil Milburn-Westfall, Psy.D.


Older adults and suicide, Interpersonal theory of suicide

Publication Statement

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Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Older adults face the highest rates of suicide of all age groups. The older adult population is not a homogenous group, and each age range—young old, middle old, and oldest old—has specific risk factors. Although Joiner’s interpersonal theory of suicide (IPTS) has been deemed valid among these age groups, it has not been specifically researched in older adults in each older age range. Due to lack of research and low reporting rates, not enough is known to develop specific detection and prevention measures targeting this population. This paper addresses the application of Joiner’s IPTS to both genders in each of these older age ranges. Joiner’s IPTS provides a solid framework for identifying risk factors and intervention points for older adults. Translating the age-related facets of Joiner’s IPTS to the various older adult age brackets, further promises to improve mitigation of suicide risk among this growing and increasingly vulnerable population. Along with addressing and mitigating the risk factors under each facet of Joiner’s IPTS, it is important to address the individual’s societal and cultural context under which they occur.


39 pgs

Paper Method

Theoretical Analysis and Synthesis