Title

Adolescents’ Attitudes Toward Suicide: Does Knowledge That the Parents Are Divorced Make a Difference?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

1-1-2021

School

Psychology

Abstract

Families of suicidal youths are viewed as more psychologically disturbed than families of youths who die from other causes, and experience other comparatively negative reactions as well. Likewise, divorced families also are viewed more negatively than intact families. To see whether a combination of suicide plus divorce led adolescents have particularly negative views, 120 high school students read one of four versions of a newspaper article about a teen’s death. The teen was described as having lived either with both parents (I) or with his divorced mother (D), and as having died either from a rare disease (VI) or by suicide (S). As compared to VI teens and their parents, D teens and their parents were seen as more psychologically disturbed; and S parents were seen as more (a) to blame, (b) sad and depressed, (c) ashamed, and (d) in need of professional psychological help. As compared to I teens and their parents, D teens and their parents were seen as more psychologically disturbed, and, in the case of fathers, more unlikeable. Surprisingly, these students expected to have less trouble expressing sympathy to divorced parents than to intact parents. However, a combination of divorce and suicide did not exacerbate the negative perceptions and anticipated reactions of these high school students.

Publication Title

The Divorce Process: A Handbook for Clinicians

First Page

162

Last Page

167

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