Publication Date

Summer 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Sarah Ochs (Direcgtor), Carl Myers, and Meghan Bankhead

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


As the second leading cause of death for adolescents, suicide has become one of the biggest concerns for school personnel. School psychologists are often expected to be the most competent and able to lead in suicide prevention efforts, however, studies have shown a lack of preparedness in crisis intervention and, more specifically, suicide risk assessment. This study surveyed practicing school psychologists (N = 92) to explore their perception of both their role and competency in suicide risk assessment. While school psychologists reported having varying roles within their district related to suicide risk assessment, the majority endorsed having a role at the tertiary level (i.e., intervening with a student identified as needing help). Participants indicated lacking both graduate training and competency in this area. Significant interactions were found between perceptions of role and competency and primary school setting, state employed, and previous training or exposure. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


Child Psychology | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology