Date of Award

Summer 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Ashton Trice

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Tammy Gilligan

Abstract

While minimal information on suicidal behavior at the elementary school level is available, a review of the existing literature demonstrates the erroneous belief that children lack the developmental maturity to understand the concept of death and suicide. To better understand prevalence rates of suicidal behavior in elementary school-aged children, interventions offered to those children, reported levels of practitioner competence, and overall preparedness of elementary school personnel in appropriately addressing suicidal behavior demonstrated by their students, the researcher surveyed 155 Virginia school psychologists. Results from the online survey revealed that while suicidal behavior in elementary school-aged students is rare, school-based professionals do believe that these students are at-risk for experiencing or demonstrating such behavior. Furthermore, school psychologists largely depend on school counselors to lead intervention efforts and communicate valuable information with them. While there are many needs in elementary schools, Virginia school psychologists have expressed the need for additional training opportunities in addition to establishing strong crisis response plans to respond to concerns as soon as possible.

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Psychology Commons

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