Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Frey, Laura

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Antle, Becky

Committee Member

Antle, Becky

Committee Member

Harris, Lesley

Committee Member

Gattis, Maurice

Author's Keywords

gender and sexual diversity; suicide attempt survivors; social stigma; hermeneutic phenomenology; minority stress and strengths; resilience


Suicide is a profoundly impactful issue across societies. Gender and sexually diverse (GSD) populations exhibit rates of suicidal ideation and behavior far greater than those of cisgender heterosexual populations. Stigma impacts health outcomes among GSD populations through stress exposure and response processes. Compound stigma is experienced when individuals occupy positions in multiple stigmatized identity groups and can have multiplicative effects on adverse outcomes. Further, opportunities for positive social support and resilience building may be limited due to the narrow convergence of stigmatized identity groups. Stigma among GSD suicide attempt survivors (GSDAS) is an important phenomenon to explore in order to understand nuanced differences and similarities between experiences, sources, and interactions with stigma within stories of suicide. Using data from the Live Through This advocacy project, hermeneutic phenomenological processes were utilized to explore the lived experience of stigma among GSDAS. The larger study sample was divided into two groups: those with nonheterosexual sexually diverse identities only (n=37) and those with noncisgender gender diverse identities (n=11). Findings from this dissertation indicate a complex web of factors that exist within a pervasive environment of stigma and interact to shape social experiences of GSDAS. This study contributes to our understanding of stigma within the context of suicide stories for GSDAS and can help inform individual and social suicide prevention efforts with an overarching goal to decrease stigma-related experiences and improve outcomes through greater equity, support, and care for GSDAS.