Title page for ETD etd-06062008-162301

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Yang, Bin
URN etd-06062008-162301
Title Effects of early negative life events on cognitive functioning and risk for suicide in a college sample
Degree PhD
Department Clinical Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Clum, George A. Jr. Committee Chair
Cooper, Lee D. Committee Member
Finney, Jack W. Committee Member
Jones, Russell T. Committee Member
Ollendick, Thomas H. Committee Member
Sturgis, Ellie T. Committee Member
  • current stress and social support
  • cognitive deficits
  • childhood social support
  • childhood stress
  • etiology of suicidality
Date of Defense 1995-04-21
Availability unrestricted
The present study was designed to examine the etiology of suicidal

behavior from cognitive and developmental perspectives. Given empirical

evidence suggesting links between early negative life events and

suicidal behavior, between early negative life events and cognitive

factors, and between cognitive factors and suicidal behavior, it was

hypothesized that early negative life events may impact individuals'

suicidal behavior by affecting these individuals' cognitive functioning.

That is, cognitive functioning may serve as a mediator in the

relationship between early life events and suicidal behavior. The

present study examined child maltreatment, family instability, and poor

general family environment as early negative life events, and examined

self-esteem, locus of control, hopelessness, and problem-solving

deficits as cognitive factors. In addition, individuals' perceived

social support before age 18 and current social support and life stress

were also examined in relation to the above variables. The subject

sample was comprised of 181 college students, including 51 suicidal, 60

depressed, and 70 normal-control individuals. Results from the study

indicated that these three groups could be discriminated at highly

satisfactory levels by using the above variables. A series of

structural equation analyses also indicated that, even though early

negative life events have mild direct impact on suicidal behavior, these

events seem to have stronger direct impact on cognitive deficits which

in turn seem to have stronger direct impact on suicidal behavior.

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