Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Teenagers -- Suicidal behavior; Minnesota Multiphasia Personality Inventory for Adolescents;


This study was designed to examine whether the new Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory--Adolescent (MMPI-A) Content Scales could assist in the identification and prediction of suicidal behaviors in adolescent inpatients. In addition, the relationship of the MMPI-A Content Scales and four indirect and four direct measures of suicidal risk were examined. The four indirect measures of suicidal risk were the Brief Symptom Inventory subscales of depression, psychoticism, and hostility and the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. Subjects were adolescent inpatients ages 15 to 18 (n = 135). Subjects were divided into two groups based on psychiatric diagnosis at admission and responses of the participants to the first item on the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire (SBQ). Of the 135 subjects, 65 were classified as suicidal and 70 were classified as nonsuicidal. Results showed that the MMPI-A Content Scales of depression, alienation, and low self-esteem reliably discriminated between the suicidal and non-suicidal groups. The suicidal adolescents scored significantly higher than the non-suicidal adolescents on the three MMPI-A Content Scales. Moderate correlations were found between the indirect measures of suicidal risk and the MMPI-A Content Scales. Specifically, those Content Scales which purportedly measured the same construct as the indirect measures were significantly correlated, providing evidence of convergent validity. Low to moderate correlations were found between the MMPI-A Content Scales and the direct measures of suicidal risk. Overall, it was found that the MMPI-A Content Scales (depression, alienation, and low self-esteem) may be useful in discriminating between suicidal and non-suicidal adolescents. However, additional analyses should be conducted to validate these results. In addition, future research should include non-hospitalized adolescent controls and should evaluate the significance of factors including family functioning, specific age, diagnosis, and gender differences in adolescent suicidal behavior.

Year of Submission


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Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Augustine Osman

Second Advisor

Ralph Scott

Third Advisor

Annette Iverson


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