Date of Award

Spring 4-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Makungu Akinyela

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Dixon

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Gayles


The purpose of this study was to investigate the opinions of African American college students as they relate to suicide. A questionnaire was distributed to 92 individuals in a computer classroom setting. Their responses were then analyzed to investigate whether ethnic identity salience influenced the students’ perspectives of suicide. Regression analysis revealed that ethnic identity salience did not influence acceptability and normality of suicide in the African American students. Analysis also demonstrated that ethnic identity salience did not effect whether the African American students viewed suicide as being related to mental or moral illness. Seventeen of those who took the questionnaire also participated in interviews. The interviews allowed the respondents to voice their opinions on suicide in the African American community. Nine key themes were discovered during the interviews. Suggestions for suicide prevention and interventions that are more effective, and the directions for future literature on the subject, are discussed.