A cross-cultural investigation of suicidal behavior and attitudes in Austrian and Turkish medical students

Mehmet Eskin, Martin Voracek, Stefan Stieger, Vesile Altinyazar

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

61 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: This cross-cultural study investigated the prevalence of suicidal behavior and attitudes towards suicide and reactions to suicidal individuals in 320 Austrian and 326 Turkish medical students.

METHODS: Data were collected using a self-report questionnaire consisting of sections on demographic information, suicidal behavior, current mood, religiosity, attitudes towards suicide, and reactions to suicidal individuals.

RESULTS: More Austrian (37.8%) than Turkish (27.3%) students reported life-time, past 12-month, or current suicidal ideation, while more Turkish (6.4%) than Austrian (2.2%) students reported life-time or past 12-month suicide attempts. Austrian students had more permissive and liberal attitudes towards suicide, while those of Turkish students were more rejecting. Conversely, attitudes of Turkish medical students towards an imagined suicidal close friend were more accepting than those of Austrian medical students. Comparisons of suicidal versus nonsuicidal students showed that those reporting suicidal ideation or suicide attempts generally were more accepting of suicide and viewed suicide as a solution to a greater extent than the nonsuicidal group.

CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that cultural factors play a role in observed country differences in suicidal ideation and behavior and in attitudes towards suicide and reactions to suicidality among Austrian and Turkish medical students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-823
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Attitude/ethnology
  • Austria/ethnology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report
  • Students, Medical/psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide, Attempted/ethnology
  • Turkey/ethnology
  • Young Adult


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