Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Karen Dapper (Committee Member), Cheryl Meyer (Committee Chair), Betty Yung (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States. As such, it has been described as a major health problem. In the United States the male to female suicide ratio is approximately 4:1. Comparative analyses of suicide between men and women are needed to provide a more complete understanding of the suicide phenomenon. The current study built upon the literature related to gender and the role of relationships in suicidality. Through the analysis of suicide notes written by individuals who completed suicide, this study provides new insight into the role of gender and interpersonal dynamics in suicide and supplements information obtained from the suicide notes with coroner's records, providing for a more complete picture. The overall sample included 167 cases of completed suicide occurring between 2000 and 2009 in which a suicide note was left by the decedent. All cases had been referred to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office (Dayton, Ohio). Twenty-seven of the 167 cases were identified as being motivated by relationship problems. A content analysis and thematic analysis was completed comparing the 27 relationally motivated cases to the overall sample. In addition, a comparison was made between the male and female note writers in the relationally-motivated sample. There were substantial differences between the relationally motivated sample and the overall sample. In addition, there were striking male/female differences within the relationally motivated sample. These findings and their clinical implications will be discussed.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons