Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Ruth Chu-Lien Chao, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer E. Cornish, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kathy Green

Fourth Advisor

Cynthia McRae


Buffering effects, College students, Depression, Self-esteem, Suicidality, Suicide resilience


As suicide-related incidents on college campuses increase and receive intense media coverage and a growing percentage of college students experience suicide ideation and attempts, there is a desperate need for a more profound understanding of suicidality and its risk and protective factors among college populations. Recent years there has been a growing interest in the buffering effect of resilience on suicidality (Johnson, Wood, Gooding, Taylor, & Tarrier, 2011). This study adds to the suicide literature by exploring the relationship among depression, self-esteem, suicide resilience, and suicidality. Undergraduate students from a large university in the Western United States were asked to assess their depressive symptoms, level of self-esteem, level of suicide resilience, and thoughts and behaviors of suicide. Multiple regression analyses were used to explore the relationships between these variables. The results indicate that depression was a statistically significant predictor of suicide behavior. Results also suggest that high self-esteem and high suicide resilience were buffers that protect college students who experience depression from developing suicide behavior. A three-way interaction of depression, self-esteem, and suicide resilience in predicting suicide behavior was also found to be statistically significant. It suggests that when self-esteem and suicide resilience were both high, the association between depression and suicide behavior was the weakest; when self-esteem and suicide resilience were both low, the association was the strongest. Additional clinical implications, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are addressed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Canzi Wang


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

128 p.


Counseling psychology, Sub Saharan Africa studies