Date of Award

Spring 3-2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Committee Chair

Daniel Capron

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Megan Renna

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Stephanie Smith

Committee Member 3 School



Despite the far-reaching impact of suicide on our communities, we need more research to understand how suicidal thoughts develop, and what leads to their maintenance. As suggested by the depression distress-amplification model (Capron et al., 2013), emotion-regulation strategies such as rumination may cause or worsen suicidal ideation by amplifying the distress associated with negative thoughts. In addition, ruminative thoughts are often described as difficult to control, which may lead people to think about suicide as an escape from these uncontrollable thoughts. The current study examined the relationship between certain forms of rumination (i.e., brooding, reflection, anger rumination, and suicidal rumination) and likelihood and severity of lifetime suicidal thinking in a sample of 228 undergraduate students at the University of Southern Mississippi. For each form of rumination that was related to suicidal thinking, I then examined whether that relationship was explained by perceived loss of control of one’s own thoughts. I found that all forms of rumination were related to likelihood and severity of lifetime suicidal thinking, as well as heightened perceived inability to control one’s own thoughts. This thought control inability at least partially explained the relationship between brooding, reflection, and anger rumination’s relationships with both likelihood and severity of suicidal thinking. Thought control did not play a role in the relationship between suicidal rumination and suicidal ideation severity or likelihood. Clinicians should be aware of the impact ruminative thoughts may have on suicidal thinking. More research needs to be done to replicate and extend these effects.