Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Michael Vetter

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Englert

Third Advisor

Dr. James Archibald


This qualitative multicase study explores the lived experiences of seven higher education professionals who serve or have served on a crisis response team at the time of a college student suicide. It asks the following research question: How has a college student suicide impacted the individual psychological needs (safety, trust, esteem, intimacy, control) of those serving on a crisis response team? Using constructivist self-development theory (McCann & Pearlman, 1990) as a lens, psychological needs have been analyzed as fulfilled needs or distorted needs across two interviews and three journaling prompts to assess the impact on seven participants in this qualitative study. While constructivist self-development theory had not yet been used to study crisis response teams, it is useful to apply, as it allows for the exploration of different cognitive alterations and can account for individual participants’ patterning as they experience their own individual schemas, especially when considering their involvement with the crisis, relationship with the student, and their crisis response team.