Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education

Major Professor

Joel F. Diambra

Committee Members

Bob Kronick, Shawn L. Spurgeon, R. Eric Heidel


Suicide, or “death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with (sic) intent to die as a result of the behavior,” is a major public health concern in the United States. Professional counselors are likely to encounter a suicidal client even before completing their educational training. Due to the frequency of counselor trainees’ encounters with suicidal clients, these students are likely to face this challenge as early as their first practicum experience. Due to the complexity of assessing and treating persons at risk for suicide, student counselors not explicitly trained in these practices are at risk for not identifying and adequately managing suicide risk. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to explore and describe counseling students’ knowledge about suicide, attitudes about suicide and suicide response, and simulated suicide response behavior; and 2) to identify to what extent counseling students’ knowledge and attitudes about suicide and suicide response relate to and predict simulated suicide response behavior. Outcomes from this study suggests that the constructs of knowledge about suicide, attitudes about suicide and suicide prevention, and simulated behavioral response are related to one another. However, these relationships should be interpreted with caution. Only declarative knowledge about suicide as measured by the SKS (Smith et al., 2014) and a moderating effect of declarative knowledge and attitudes were able to significantly predict suicide response behavior scores.

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