Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Ruth K. Mulliken


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a problem-solving intervention strategy as applied to mildly suicidal adolescents. The population for this study consisted of male and female adolescents aged 14 to 19 who were referred by teachers, counselors, parents or self because of concerns about suicidal behavior. This project was a case study approach focusing on six mildly suicidal adolescents who volunteered from a pool of referrals received during the 1985-1986 school year. Prior to beginning intervention, each student's lethality was assessed by using the Lethality Index which allowed for the identification of those adolescents who were more seriously suicidal. These students were referred to appropriate agencies.;Pre and post assessment which included interview, the IPAT Depression Inventory, the Suicide Probability Scale, the Checklist for Solving Problems in Real Life and the Classroom Performance Profile was conducted by the school psychologist or social worker involved. Each subject received the same intervention strategy which was a problem-solving approach initiated with each student focusing on his/her own personal problems. Each subject was seen at least once a week for six weeks, however, some students were seen more frequently if necessary.;Overall results of this study were considered inconclusive, as there was no overwhelming or statistically significant proof that a problem-solving intervention approach is successful with mildly suicidal adolescents. It was felt, however, that results did indicate that adolescents referred for depression and suicidal concerns also experience weak problem-solving skills. Each subject indicated that they wanted help in learning how to solve their personal problems better.;Subjective reports from post intervention interviews revealed that students felt more confident in confronting future problems, however, results on the problem-solving inventory did not demonstrate growth in this area.;Generalization of results must be made with caution as there were several major limitations to this study. The problem-solving framework, however, does appear to have merit as a structured format for counselors to use when working with suicidal students and their problems.



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