Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

School Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Sara Whitcomb

Subject Categories

School Psychology


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for the 10-24 age range (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Despite national attention, youth suicide rates have increased by 50% since 1999 (CDC WISQARS, 2018). To better target and evaluate school-based suicide prevention efforts, this study undertakes the development and initial validation of the Suicide Prevention Attitudes Rating Scale (SPARS) in a sample of California school principals. After a thorough literature review and initial item development, experts in the suicide prevention field reviewed and provided feedback on the initial items and construct definition. A cognitive interview protocol with school principals was then used to ensure items are interpreted as intended. After a large-scale data collection process, psychometric analyses used methods from classical psychometrics, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and item response theory to refine the internal structure of the measure. Through these methods, the study collects initial validity evidence in the areas of test content evidence, response process evidence, evidence of internal psychometric structure, and evidence based on relations to other variables (AERA, APA, NCME, 2014).


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.