Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gabriel P. Kuperminc

Second Advisor

Dominic J. Parrott

Third Advisor

Robert D. Latzman


Alcohol and drug abuse are strong predictors of suicide. While screening methods have proven effective at identifying and treating substance abuse in non-treatment-seeking users (e.g., screening and brief intervention [SBI]), less attention has been given to the co-occurrence of suicidality among this population, including its correlates and etiology. The current study addresses this gap by presenting data from early adult emergency department (ED) patients (mean age = 27; N = 505), screened for substance abuse and suicidal ideation. Prevalence of past year ideation was high (15%). Results demonstrated a significant and positive indirect effect of cocaine use severity on likelihood of suicidal ideation, mediated through family support. The implications for SBI practices in the ED and suicide etiology among non-treatment-seeking substance abusers are discussed.