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Scand J Psychol. 2016 Dec;57(6):554-563. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12318. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Cross-national comparisons of attitudes towards suicide and suicidal persons in university students from 12 countries.

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Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey.,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Sciences, Al-Farabi College for Dentistry and Nursing, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, School of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, West Bank, Palestine.
Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Italy.
Department of Psychology and School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China.
School of Health Sciences, City University of London, UK.
School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA.
School of Public Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
Department of Hygiene, School of Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan.
Department of Psychiatry, University hospital of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia.
Department of Community Medicine, Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science & Technology, Irbid, Jordan.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, Turkey.
School of Public Health, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, Palestine.
Princess Aisha Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Ma'an, Jordan.
College of Medicine, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia.


This paper reports the results of a comparative investigation of attitudes to suicide and suicidal persons in 5,572 university students from 12 countries. Participants filled out two scales measuring attitudes towards suicide and suicidal persons, a measure of psychological distress together with the questions about suicidal behavior. Results showed that the highest suicide acceptance scores were observed in Austrian, UK, Japanese and Saudi Arabian samples and the lowest scores were noted in Tunisian, Turkish, Iranian and Palestinian samples. While the highest social acceptance scores for a suicidal friend were noted in Turkish, US, Italian and Tunisian samples, the lowest scores were seen in Japanese, Saudi Arabian, Palestinian and Jordanian samples. Compared to participants with a suicidal past, those who were never suicidal displayed more internal barriers against suicidal behavior. Men were more accepting of suicide than women but women were more willing to help an imagined suicidal peer. Participants with accepting attitudes towards suicide but rejecting attitudes towards suicidal persons reported more suicidal behavior and psychological distress, and were more often from high suicide rate countries and samples than their counterparts. They are considered to be caught in a fatal trap in which most predominant feelings of suicidality such as hopelessness or helplessness are likely to occur. We conclude that in some societies such as Japan and Saudi Arabia it might be difficult for suicidal individuals to activate and make use of social support systems.


Suicidal attitudes; cross-national; suicide attempt; suicide ideation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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