Date of Conferral







Gerald Nissley


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that African American women had the lowest recorded number of suicide completions among all ethnic and gender groups in the United States. In addition, the number of suicides among African American women continued to soar without a clear reason or understanding of their lowest completion rates. Further research in the area of spirituality among African American women may be critical in understanding why African American women's rates of completed suicides are statistically lower than other ethnic groups and how to prevent future rate increases. A phenomenological framework was used to examine the thoughts and opinions of African American Christian women on whether or not religion plays a vital part during the contemplation phase of suicidal ideations and on their reasons for living. The study explored the low rates of suicide completions among African American women from a religious and spiritual perspective. Fifteen African American Christian women who had contemplated suicide were recruited via flyers posted at a local church campus. Participants were individually interviewed about their lived experiences during suicidal behaviors. After the interviews were transcribed, data were coded by assigning numbers to common themes and placing the common themes into categories. The results indicated that among the small sample of 15 participants, religion and spirituality are highly considered as being a protective factor against repeated suicidal behavior, followed by family relationships, when compared to other reasons for living. The least likely protective factor was financial status. The findings suggest that spirituality can be used as a preventative measure to lower the risk of suicide completions among African American Christian women.