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Suicidal Youth in America: The Role of School Disengagement and Other Sociodemographic Factors

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Title: Suicidal Youth in America: The Role of School Disengagement and Other Sociodemographic Factors
Author: Watton, Claire
Department: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Program: Sociology
Advisor: Shalla, VivianWalters, David
Abstract: This thesis explores the nature of the relationship between school disengagement and suicide ideation among American youth aged 12-17. Situated within Ecological Systems Theory, this study regards suicide ideation as a consequence of the alienating nature of school practices at the microsystem level that have been ultimately guided by capitalist ideologies at the macrosystem level. Using data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, logistic regression analysis is employed whereby suicide ideation is the dependent variable. This cross-sectional study controls for a wide range of sociodemographic factors and seeks to gain an understanding as to whether these factors mediate the relationship between school disengagement and suicide ideation. The results of this study indicate that, in the absence of controls, as youth become more disengaged from school, their likelihood of experiencing suicide ideation increases. However, this relationship becomes statistically insignificant when controlling for availability of emotional support from parents. Those who have a parent to talk to about serious problems are less likely to experience suicide ideation. Thus, these findings suggest that while there is a relationship between school disengagement and suicide ideation, it is mediated by parental support. This thesis arrives at the conclusion that school engagement and parental support have an interrelated effect on suicide ideation risk, and that this relationship should be further explored.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8123
Date: 2014-04
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