Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Anestis, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Suicide has become an increasing problem, and it is ranked as the tenth leading cause of death for all ages (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Joiner’s (2005) interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide states thwarted belongingness - the feeling of being alienated from others - and perceived burdensomeness - the feeling of being a liability to others – are the primary proximal factors leading to suicidal desire. The current study focuses on thwarted belongingness and examines its relationship to face-to-face interactions and online interactions. We hypothesized that negative face-to-face and online interactions would independently predict higher levels of thwarted belongingness. Furthermore, we hypothesized that face-to-face interactions would moderate the relationship between online interactions and thwarted belongingness, and that online interactions would moderate the relationship between face-to-face interactions and thwarted belongingness. 387 participants (79.6% female) at a southern university completed an online survey. Results only partially supported hypotheses, and only face-to-face interactions were shown to independently predict higher levels of thwarted belongingness. The findings from the study have several implications regarding the influence of face-to-face interactions on thwarted belongingness and present several new future directions for research.

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