Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Second Advisor

J. Kijai

Third Advisor

D. McBride

Abstract

Problem. Since Durkheim's classic 1897 study of differences in suicide rates between Catholics and Protestants in Europe, much research has focused on the relationship between religion and suicide. Pescosolido and Georgianna (1989) have suggested that Durkheim's Catholic/Protestant paradigm may not work well in the more heterogenous religious culture within the United States. This present study used Pescosolido and Georgianna's (1989) social network theory to examine the influence of social integration, religious integration, and religious-social regulation on attempted suicidal behavior in Seventh-day Adventist adolescents.

Method. The data used for this study came from the Valuegenesis (1989) survey conducted by the Search Institute (Minnesota) on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Seventh-day Adventist adolescents, ages 11 to 18, were included in the sample. Logistic regression was used to examine the influence of the model on self-reported attempted suicidal behavior in four different analyses.

Results. The results indicated that, after the effects of the controlled variables were accounted for, the social-religious integration and regulation model, although statistically significant (p < .01), did little proportionally (.01) to improve the goodness of fit of the model in predicting attempted suicidal behavior. Furthermore, only one of the theoretical variables, a social integration variable for denominational identity, was a significant predictor in all of the statistical analyses. Another variable, a religious integration variable-- Adventist orthodoxy--was significant in three of the analyses. However, like the full model, neither of these two variables was substantively important. The results indicated that, after the effects of the controlled variables were accounted for, denominational identity and Adventist orthodoxy, although statistically significant (p <.01), did little proportionally (.004 and .002, respectively) to improve the goodness of fit of the model in predicting attempted suicidal behavior. Two other variables, family religious socialization and attendance, were each a significant predictor in only one of four different analyses.

Conclusions. The religious-social integration and regulation model, although statistically significant, contributed little proportionally towards predicting attempted suicidal behavior in Seventh-day Adventist youth. Further research that examines the use of this theoretical model (1) in and across other denominations and ( 2) with adult populations is needed.

Subject Area

Suicide--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists, Suicide--Psychological aspects, Suicide--Social aspects, Teenagers--Suicidal behavior.

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