First Advisor

Hyeyoung Woo

Date of Publication

Spring 6-4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Suicide -- United States, Social interaction, Social capital (Sociology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 52 pages)


Despite over a century's worth of study, areal variations in suicide rate remain largely unexplained. In order to better understand these regional differences, this analysis aggregates county-level National Center for Health Statistics Multiple Cause of Death data with data from the US Census, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, and the Penn State Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development to test the three leading conceptualizations of social integration (i.e. demographic, compositional, ecological) against US suicide rates. Results of negative binomial regression models indicate that an ecological measure, social capital, is substantially associated with suicide rate, while demographic and compositional measures do not appear to be significantly associated with suicide rate, robust of controls, speaking to the role of social ties in preventing suicide. These findings highlight both the changing nature of social integration and the role that this plays in suicide prevention.


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