Date Approved

5-8-2003

Embargo Period

5-3-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in School Psychology

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Klanderman, John

Second Advisor

Dihoff, Roberta

Subject(s)

Student counselors--Attitudes; Suicide--Prevention

Disciplines

Educational Psychology

Abstract

Most of the research on suicide/suicide intervention has focused upon client characteristics and attitudes. Little research, especially in the school setting, has been done on counselor characteristics and attitudes as key variables in these situations. This study was done, at least partially, to help overcome the lack of research in this critical area. This study involved fifteen school counselors (school psychologists and school social workers) who were selected nonrandomly. Based upon interviews, a key finding was that school counselors who prioritize the role of suicide intervention and were more comfortable in doing this, perceived themselves as being more successful in conducting these interventions than school counselors who place less priority on this role and were less comfortable with it. Other more specific findings were: male counselors and school social workers were more comfortable and perceived themselves as being more competent than female counselors and school psychologists, respectively, in conducting these interventions. More years of experience and number of suicidal students seen were only mildly to moderately related to higher perceived performance. And interestingly, those counselors with more years of education had lower perceived performance than those counselors with less education. Another key finding was that the vast majority of school counselors interviewed thought they had a significant positive impact on the most serious suicide interventions they were involved in. Schema, at both the global and more specific levels, and the defense mechanisms of repression and suppression, relating to past personal experiences, were found to have some suggestive explanatory power with respect to some of the key variables in this study.

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