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college student suicidal behavior: exploring faculty willingness to intervene

Rikki Dale Turner
© 2020

A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate what factors contribute to faculty members’ willingness to intervene with suicidal students. An online survey was administered to faculty (N=281) to collect data for quantitative analysis. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the 61 items with oblique rotation. Seven factors were retained which explained 54.47% of the variance.

Key findings:

  • convergence of ‘perceived behavior control’ (ability to intervene by expressing care) and ‘intent to intervene’ (expressing care for the student) onto one factor, updated to ‘self-efficacy,’ which replaced ‘intent to intervene expressing care.’

  • Gender was not a statistically significant predictor of any of the dependent variables. 

  • Almost universally, ‘attitudes of effect on participant’ did not impact willingness to intervene.

  • Subjective norms about the intervention impacted faculty members, but not for utilizing emergency services.

  • Perceived behavior control was a significant predictor for all interventions.

  • Faculty members were more likely to express care for suicidal students or utilize outside resources than they were to utilize emergency services.

As suicide rates among college students continue to increase and an overwhelming focus of suicide intervention training is focused on student affairs professionals, the findings from this research highlight the importance of training faculty members to recognize warning signs and to intervene in some way to reduce these rates.

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