College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Spring 5-1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Spencer K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Roger M. Olien, Ph.D.


Previous research on childhood sexual abuse has indicated an increased risk of suicide for children who experience more severe sexual abuse and children who experience sexual abuse accompanied by physical abuse. This study investigated the difference in suicide risk associated with varying severity of sexual abuse, and the difference in suicide risk associated with age at the time of sexual abuse. Data was collected from the psychological records of a state juvenile correctional facility for boys. Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference between those who experienced penetrating sexual abuse versus non-penetrating sexual abuse; however, an overall significant difference was found between those who experienced sexual abuse at or prior to the age of eight and those who experienced sexual abuse after the age of eight. In addition, a significant difference in suicidiation was found for the physically abused, and among , the various ethnicities, a significant difference in sexual abuse as well as suicidiation was found.