Parental Pressures Can Have Direct Affect on Students Contemplating Suicide

February 06, 2003

Female college students with mothers who expect perfection and fathers who support the mother are more likely to contemplate suicide than peers from less pressured families, according to a Penn State study. The survey of 421 college students revealed that close to the same percentage of female and male students contemplated thoughts of suicide: 19.4 percent, says Michelle Miller-Day, assistant professor of communication arts and sciences. But the proportion of students who actually attempted suicide was 4 percent for females, compared to 1.1 percent for males. The findings indicated that the college women who are most vulnerable to suicidal thoughts are those with mothers who not only require stellar performance in school but keep raising the bar of expectation, notes L. Edward Day, assistant professor of criminal justice and sociology at Penn State Altoona. Miller-Day and Day co-authored a paper on the topic for the Journal of Family Communication. For the complete story, visit

Last Updated March 19, 2009