Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Srikanta Banerjee

Abstract

Suicide is among the leading cause of adolescent deaths worldwide and thus a significant public health concern. Risk factors for suicidal behavior include drinking alcohol, smoking, and engaging in risky sexual behaviors. One area of concern is dietary patterns and their association with depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. Bandura's social cognitive theory emphasizes the assumption that one can perform specific actions to bring about desired outcomes. The primary research questions for this quantitative, retrospective, cross-sectional study concerned whether there is a statistically significant interaction between fruit and vegetable intake and suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. Data from 71,776 adolescents in the Centers for Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey were analyzed using complex samples binominal logistic regression. The dependent variable was suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, and the independent variable was intake of fruits and vegetables. Suicidal ideation was significantly, positively correlated with fruit and vegetable intake. Even after controlling for age, sex, race, and depression, there was a significant, positive correlation with fruit and vegetable intake. Suicide attempt was significantly, positively correlated with fruit and vegetable intake even after controlling for age, sex, race, and depression. Although the results of this study were contrary to previous findings, these results do support the claim that sugary foods and fast foods have a dopaminergic â??reward effectâ??. The findings may foster positive social change by identifying the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and suicidal ideation or suicide attempts in adolescents.

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