Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Marnin Heisel


This study assessed associations between suicide ideation and personality characteristics in a sample of community-residing adults 65 years of age and older. Measures of personality, suicide ideation, and depression were administered at two time points 6-12 months apart. Multiple linear regression analyses were employed to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between personality characteristics and suicide ideation. A total of 106 older adults (mean age=74.2 years, SD=5.8, including 78 women) completed both phases of the study. The majority of participants included in this study were relatively emotionally and psychologically healthy. Within this sample of older adults, more severe suicide ideations was significantly associated with lower Extraversion and greater Neuroticism and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism, controlling for age, sex, and depression symptom severity. Although findings concerning Neuroticism were not consistent across measures, Extraversion and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism appear to have particularly robust associations with suicide ideation. These personality characteristics may be indicators of vulnerability to suicide ideation among community-residing older adults and should be considered when assessing suicide risk and planning interventions with this population.

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