Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



This qualitative, retrospective study investigated suicidal ideation among 32 young adult men. Participants were asked to report their experiences as adolescents. The primary focus of the study was to discover how gay gifted adolescents dealt with issues of suicide and suicidal ideation. Participants were selected using a purposive sampling technique. Four groups of participants were chosen with eight males in each group. The groups were: gay (i.e., homosexual) gifted, gay nongifted, straight (i.e., heterosexual) gifted and straight nongifted. Forty-one percent of participants were Hispanic/Latino, 31% were Caucasian, 22% were biracial, and 6% were African American. Data were collected using an initial questionnaire followed by in-depth individual interviews with all participants. Grounded Theory methodology was employed during the analysis phase of the study. The voices of participants were conveyed within a series of narrative vignettes. Specific categories of risk and resiliency were revealed using coding and constant comparative analysis. Results indicated that resiliency played a predominant role in how the participants dealt with suicidal issues. All of the eight gay gifted males had considered attempting suicide at least once. This group did not the lowest rate of overall suicidal ideation across the groups. Also, the gay gifted group had one of the highest number of resiliency factors. Additionally, the gifted adolescents appeared to rely on their giftedness as a safeguard that protected them from suicide. Based on the studys outcome, a theory of suicidal ideation was proposed, and an assessment was designed for future studies.


gay gifted, gay, gifted, gay nongifted, straight gifted, straight nongifted, homosexual gifted, homosexual, suicide, suicidal ideation, adolescents, GLBT gifted, LGBT gifted, gay gifted adolescent suicide, gifted gay, grounded theory, resiliency, retrospective study, heterosexual gifted, resiliency factors, external resiliency factors, internal resiliency factors, Sedillo's Resiliency Theory of Suicidal Ideation, Grounded Theory Methodology

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Serna, Loretta

Second Committee Member

Olguin, David

Third Committee Member

Higgins, Dennis