Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Noelle Lefforge

Second Advisor

Hillary Potter

Third Advisor

Hale Martin


Black women, Suicide, Resiliency, Interpersonal theory of suicide, Intersectionality


Suicide is a global health challenge that has been historically understudied among Black women. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidality (IPTS) is a primary theory examined in suicidality; however, the three factors within the theory (lack of belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and capability to die) focus on the individual. The purpose of the current study was to examine these factors in an expanded context of the historical and societal impact of oppression. A mixed methods Qualtrics study was administered to Black women who voluntarily completed the survey anonymously. Quantitatively, the study found significant differences between the impact of the IPTS factors on different ecological systems (self, immediate environment, community, larger culture) within participants’ lives. The study also revealed significant differences between the assessed factors that impacted participants in general, and more specifically contributed to their suicidality. Qualitatively, there were also differences across ecological systems. Themes emerged around financial stressors and trauma related to risk, and family, jobs, and comradery of experience amongst protective factors. Moving forward, prevention and intervention efforts should take the lived experiences of Black women into account.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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98 pgs