Date of Conferral







Savitri Dixon-Saxon


The suicide rate among African-American youths has significantly increased in recent years. Studies have indicated that racism, sexism, and homophobia put African-American adolescent lesbians (AAALs) at high risk for suicide. Earlier studies recognized the importance of adult support for adults, but the relationship between the AAAL suicide rate and the level of adult support has never been formally studied. Based on social support theory, this survey study examined the relationship between adult social support and attitudes toward homosexuality (as the independent variables) and suicidality and hopelessness (as the dependent variables) in a convenience sample of 200 self-identified 13-to-19-year-old AAALs. Data were collected using the Duke Social Support and Stress Scale (DUSOCS), the Homosexuality Attitude Scale (HAS), the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS), and the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). Descriptive statistics and ANOVA correlation and regression analyses were conducted using SPSS 20. The results showed a statistically significant negative relationship between social support and attitude toward homosexuality and the dependent variable, suicidal ideation; a significant negative relationship between social support and hopelessness; and a significant, but weak, positive relationship between social support and attitude toward homosexuality. Lack of family and social support is associated with social isolation and increased risk of suicide among homosexual youths. Finding ways to increase family and social support for AAALs has the potential to promote positive social change by reducing suicidal ideation in this at-risk group.