Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Andrea Clements

Committee Members

Julia Dodd, Jon Ellis, Diana Morelen


Suicide is a national public health concern, and unmet interpersonal needs (i.e., perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness) may contribute to enhanced risk. However, mechanisms of action and certain protective variables are not well understood. The present study examined simple mediation models, with internal hostility as a mechanism of action between interpersonal needs and suicide risk. Additionally, our study examined the moderating role of various aspects of receiving forgiveness on the association between interpersonal needs and internal hostility in these simple mediation models. A community-based convenience sample was surveyed (N=712). Our findings indicated that internal hostility partially mediated the association between perceived burdensomeness/thwarted belongingness and suicide risk, such that higher levels of interpersonal needs variables were associated with higher levels of internal hostility, and in turn, higher levels of suicide risk. No evidence was found for a buffering effect of feeling forgiven on these statistical models. Our findings suggest that negative, internalized self-perception contributes to suicide risk above and beyond that of interpersonal needs alone. Implications are discussed for both theory and practice.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.