Term of Award

Summer 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ryan

Committee Member 1

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 2

Jessica Brooks


Older adults (OAs) are at an increased risk for death by suicide in comparison to all other age groups. Additionally, individuals dwelling in rural communities are at an increased risk of death by suicide in comparison to individuals dwelling in non-rural communities. The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (IPTS) posits that thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and acquired capability for suicide are the primary factors in predicting death by suicide. The current study explored rates of those factors in OAs across geographic locations. Significant differences were found between participants’ reported rates of the three factors of the IPTS, suicide and death ideation based on geographic location. However, most of the differences found revealed urban OAs were experiencing higher rates of these risk factors compared to rural and suburban OAs. These findings imply that factors within urban communities may be placing residents at an increased risk for SI and death by suicide. The timing of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to these unexpected findings. This study’s findings could benefit the current body of literature by informing further study into factors that confer greater risk of SI and death by suicide based on the nature of the differences that exist between various geographic location.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material