Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Marnin Heisel


Older adults have high rates of suicide, necessitating enhanced models of suicide risk in later life. Previous cross-sectional findings suggest that suicide ideation is positively associated with psychological risk factors and negatively associated with resilience factors, including recognition of meaning in life (MIL) and perceptions of social support (PSS). We designed the current longitudinal study to replicate and extend these findings and to test a multidimensional model of suicide ideation (SI), which incorporates consideration of risk and resilience factors, among a sample of 173 community-residing older adults. Using Structural Equation Modeling, both MIL and PSS, which were measured at the baseline and 6-12 month interview, respectively, were significantly negatively associated with SI at a 12-24 month interview, controlling for baseline social hopelessness and intervening depressive symptom severity. The data fit the model well, which suggests that fostering MIL and PSS may reduce risk for late life suicide.