Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ)


Criminal Justice, Criminology, & Forensics

First Advisor

Elaine Gunnison

Second Advisor

Micheline Lubin

Third Advisor

Stephen Rice


Suicide is an unfortunate act that takes place every single day at increasingly disturbing rates. Due to suicide’s extreme prevalence in many societies across the globe, large amounts of time, energy, and resources have been expended towards funding administrative and academic attempts to comprehend and explain suicide. Perhaps the most confusing and appalling aspect of suicide involves the suicidal death of an adolescent youth. While many researchers in academia have identified the most common risk factors and motivations for suicidal adults, little comparative understanding has been reached regarding adolescent suicide. The purpose of this study is to contribute to this fledgling research field through the analysis of obtained suicide notes. In this study, over 300 separate adolescent suicides, and over 90 subsequent suicide notes will be analyzed. All obtained suicide notes will be subjected to a content analysis to identify the most commonly cited motivations/justifications for suicide. Then, the notes will be subjected to a trend analysis designed to determine if the reported motivations/justification have remained static over time. The goal of this analysis is to determine the most commonly reported motivations/justifications for suicide amongst adolescent populations with the hope that this information could be used to lower adolescent suicide rates, and subsequent adolescent delinquency, nationwide.