Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

William Addison


To date, research has yet to be conducted that examines U.S. secondary school teachers' and administrators' attitudes toward intervening with potentially depressed and/or suicidal students. Additionally, research is needed to identify the demographic characteristics of educators that are associated with general knowledge of adolescent suicide and the risk factors and warning signs that often accompany it. The purpose of the present study was to examine the following hypotheses: 1) certain characteristics (e.g. gender, years of experience with educating children, the amount of training received on adolescent depression/suicide, and knowledge of adolescent suicide and depression) are better predictors of attitudes toward adolescent depression and suicide, and 2) teachers and administrators who are more knowledgeable about adolescent depression and suicide are more likely to report positive attitudes toward preventing these acts in the school setting. Participants included 122 teachers, administrators, and staff members from secondary schools in Illinois. Participants responded to a 47-item questionnaire that contained items from four different survey scales: the Depression Stigma Scale (DSS), the Suicide Stigma Scale (SSS), the Attitudes Toward Suicide Prevention Scale (ASPS), and the Suicide Knowledge Survey (SKS). Results indicated that knowledge of adolescent depression and suicide was the best predictor of participants' scores on survey scales that measured depression stigma, suicide stigma, and attitudes toward suicide prevention. Overall, greater knowledge of adolescent depression and suicide was associated with less stigmatized attitudes toward depression and suicide, and more positive attitudes toward suicide prevention. Limitations of the study and implications for future research are also discussed.