Stephen Gubler transferred to Utah Tech University from Las Vegas as a sociology major and quickly discovered that Utah Tech’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) was a good fit for their interest in research and statistics. As part of their work with ISR, Stephen investigated suicidal behavior among college students in southern Utah. Stephen’s analysis of a data sample of 347 Utah Tech students, who filled out the 2021 National College Health Assessment II Survey, revealed a high prevalence of suicidal behaviors among Utah Tech students. Some 28% of participants reported having thought about suicide, 21.9% had made a plan, 8.2% had attempted suicide during their lifetime, and 4.3% had attempted suicide in the previous 12 months. Overall, 33.4% of the sample had a suicidality score that exceeded the critical threshold for positive suicidal screening. Stephen was also able to identify factors associated with a high risk of suicidality including psychological distress, loneliness, substance use, exposure to negative life events and abuse, having a child, having received mental health services, having a disability, and being a sexual minority. On the other hand, psychological well-being, resilience, academic and social participation, and religiosity were significantly associated with a lower risk of suicidality.
Last February, Stephen presented the results of their research at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research held on the Utah Tech campus. Stephen also presented their research at the Pacific Sociological Association’s annual conference last April and plans to submit their research for publication this semester. “Doing research like this allows me to apply what I’m learning in the classroom. It also helps me make sense of the world I live in,” Stephen commented. “The skills I’ve developed here will certainly be helpful when I enter the job market,” they added. For more information, contact Stephen at email@example.com or their faculty mentor Muhammed Yildiz at firstname.lastname@example.org.