Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Social Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Sarah Winslow

Committee Member

Tony Cawthon

Committee Member

Brian Miller


This study explores the relationship between gender identity, challenges experienced by students, psychological distress, and suicide behavior for undergraduate students in the United States of America. The quantitative analysis utilizing the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment from Fall 2019, Spring 2020 and Fall 2020. The sample consisted of 78,296 undergraduate participants of which 65.9% identified as female, 30.5% identified as male, and 3.6% identified as non-binary students. The statistical analysis consisted of a multiple regression model controlling for variables of institution type. The major finding of this study is that non-binary undergraduate students had greater psychological distress scores and suicide behavior scores compared to their female and male peers. There is also a strong relationship between experiences with a cause for challenge and both psychological distress and suicide behavior.



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