Date of Conferral







Miranda VanTilburg


Suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide (SISAS) are increased in poststroke patients, yet not everyone who has suffered a stroke is at risk for SISAS. Two risk factors for SISAS, marital status and burdensomeness, may be of particular relevance to poststroke patients. The majority of poststroke patients have a disability that may require help from a family member with basic functions such as dressing and bathing. It was not known if being married decreases risk of SISAS for stoke victims as shown in studies with nonpoststroke subjects or increases risk for SISAS due to its influence on feelings of burdensomeness. Guided by the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior, the purpose of this study was to examine if marital status moderates the association between burdensomeness (measured by disability level) and suicide ideation. A secondary analysis was performed of the Outcome and Assessment Information Set data, which was collected by the National Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A data sample of 1,596,962 records was obtained. This data sample included 5% of the Home Health Outcome Information and Assessment Set for the year 2008. Of those, 8,6381 (5.4%) individuals had suffered a stroke. The results suggested partial support for the hypotheses presented in this study. However, a significant moderation was found. As burdensomeness increased, suicide ideation increased in patients who were married. High levels of burdensomeness increase suicide risk to those who are married. Identifying a vulnerable population can provide potential positive social change by serving as basis for future research regarding program implementation in reducing suicide rates.