Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


The major purposes of this research were to analyze the portrayal of adolescent suicidal characters in books which adolescents are currently reading and to attempt to determine if this portrayal was realistic in the entire group of books. A panel of experts was used to obtain a sample of ten books. The portrayal of ten characters from the ten books were analyzed using an inventory of nine elements which were derived from a review of the literature currently discussing characteristics of adolescent suicide. The results of this analysis suggested that, for the most part, a realistic and generally balanced portrayal of adolescent suicide exists in these books. The most realistic portrayals were given in pre-suicidal behaviors, such as withdrawal and/or rebellion; disciplinary techniques used by parents/ guardians; peer relationships; and symptoms displayed by the characters. The majority of the characters, for example, were depicted as exhibiting warning signs to their friends and families.

Some definite discrepancies emerged in the areas of gender of suicide victims, methods used, and attributed causes of suicide. The patterns suggested that an unrealistic presentation may exist in these areas, but additional analysis would be necessary to determine if the patterns are significant.

Further recommendation for research to compare findings of this study with future analyses of religious dimensions associated with suicide, the point of view of the books, and the psychological aftermath resulting from an adolescent suicide, would be valuable in determining if these elements are important.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Library Science


To find related research in UNI ScholarWorks, go to the collection of School Library Studies Graduate Research Papers written by students in the Division of School Library Studies, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, at the University of Northern Iowa.

Date Original




File Format