Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Committee Member

Dr. Brandi M. Crowe

Committee Member

Dr. Jasmine Townsend

Committee Member

Dr. James L Farnsworth II


The number of adolescents who engage in suicidality is staggering. Adolescence is a unique developmental period where engagement in health-risk behaviors is prominent. Factors influencing engagement in suicidality are vast and occur both internally and externally in the adolescent. Substance use during adolescence has shown an association with increased suicidality. Similarly, bullying, both cyberbullying and in-person bullying, have contributed to adolescent suicidality. Alternatively, recreation engagement has yielded benefits in both psychosocial and physical health for adolescents. However, limited research has identified that engaging in recreation can minimize suicidality. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore how substance use, age, race, recreation engagement, and bullying can influence suicidality in high school students. The study employed quantitative methods for each aim. Conditional process analyses were used to identify the mechanisms which operate within and outside of the adolescent and their environments that affect suicidality in high school students. Results revealed that suicidality is associated with alcohol and opioid use, and adolescent sex and sexual identity. Cyberbullying is more prevalent than in-person bullying but both are significant for high school students. Conversely, neither form of bullying influenced suicidality. Additionally, female and male students engaged on more sports teams with a reduction in suicidality. Implications for practice include the use of recreation as a program to support adolescents engaged in health-risk behaviors (e.g., substance use and suicidality). Another implication for practice is the need to identify barriers to engagement in recreation programs, and more diverse recreation programs for the unique needs of all adolescents. Opportunities for future research include identifying evidenced-based recreation that can promote a reduction to adolescent health-risk behavior engagement, intervention-based research on adolescents who are engaging in health-risk behaviors, and recreation opportunities and barriers to engagement for diverse adolescent communities.

Author ORCID Identifier




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