Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Jon Mandracchia

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Michael Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Michael Madson

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Eric Dahlen

Committee Member 4 Department



A disproportionate number of prisoners suffer from mental illness and engage in suicidal ideation or behaviors when compared to community adults (Tartaro & Lester, 2005; Torrey, Kennard, Eslinger, Lamb, & Pavle, 2010), placing a heavy burden on the correctional system for both housing and mental health treatment (Baillargeon et al., 2009). The Interpersonal-Psychological (IP) theory has been offered as a comprehensive framework for understanding and evaluating suicide risk (Joiner, 2005). The theory delineates two components that underlie both suicidal ideation and suicide behaviors, called interpersonal needs and acquired capability (Joiner, 2005). Although this theory could offer a clinically useful method for evaluating suicide risk in offenders, it has not yet been studied in this population. As such, the current study aimed at examining the validity of the measure of interpersonal needs in an incarcerated sample of adult men (n = 399) as well as determining ethnic differences and cutoff scores for clinical purposes in assessing suicidal ideation. The findings indicate that the two-factor structure remains valid with some modification of the measure, and that no ethnic differences exist on the INQ in the sample. Additionally, a cutoff value on the INQ was derived in assessing suicidal ideation. Clinical guidelines for the utilization of the INQ, as well as limitations and future directions, will be explored.