Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Anestis

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joye Anestis

Committee Member 2 School

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Dan Capron

Committee Member 3 School

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Elizabeth McClain

Abstract

The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between capability for suicide and painful and provocative experiences related to practicing within the medical profession (mPPEs) among students enrolled in a College of Osteopathic Medicine (n = 114). It was posited that frequency of engagement in mPPEs would predict scores on measures of capability for suicide above and beyond the effects of gender and painful and provocative experiences unrelated to practicing within the medical profession (PPEs). It was also posited that frequency of both witnessing and performing an mPPE would moderate the impact of curriculum component on capability for suicide, such that students enrolled in the clinical component of the medical school curriculum (i.e. students within the third and fourth years of training) would exhibit the highest mean levels of capability, particularly when such individuals have witnessed and performed an elevated number of provocative medical experiences. Results indicated that frequency of mPPEs significantly predicted scores on measures of capability for suicide, suggesting that students frequently engaging in mPPEs exhibit higher capability for suicide. Moreover, this finding suggests that medical training contributes to the development of capability for suicide through exposure to mPPEs. Results also indicated that neither frequency of witnessing or performing mPPEs significantly moderated the impact of curriculum component on capability. Findings from the current study may serve to inform suicide prevention efforts among medical students by highlighting the relationship between mPPEs and capability for suicide, among a population known to exhibit elevated suicidal ideation.

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