Suicidal Behavior and Attitudes Among Medical Students in the United Arab Emirates.
ABSTRACT Background: Few studies have investigated suicidal behavior and attitudes of medical students. We are not aware of any previous reports emerging from the Arab world. Aims: To investigate suicidal behavior and attitudes among medical students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Method: The prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts as well as attitudes toward suicide and reactions to a hypothetical suicidal friend were assessed using a self-report survey. Furthermore, the survey included the self-assessment of the current mood and religiosity, and socio-demographic information. Results: A group of 115 medical students (mean age 20.7 years, 59.1% female) participated in the survey. The prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation was 17.5% and of suicide attempts 1.8%. In general, students showed very low acceptability of suicide, strong beliefs in the punishment after death, and highly endorsed communicating problems with parents. Moreover, high acceptance of and support for a suicidal friend were found. Sadness was associated with higher acceptability of suicide and fewer beliefs in punishment after death. Religiosity was associated with less acceptability of suicide, seeing suicide in context of mental illness, communicating problems with parents, and greater support for a suicidal friend. Conclusions: The prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts among medical students in the UAE was in the lower range in international comparison. Negative attitudes toward suicide were accompanied by a strong support for a suicidal friend, and both were related to religiosity.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Mental health problems among college students represent an important and growing public health concern for which epidemiological data are needed. Objectives: This cross-sectional study aimed to estimate the prevalence of mental health problems among undergraduate college students at King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia and to determine the socio-demographic and other potential correlates for mental health problems. Materials and Methods: A total of 1696 undergraduate students of both genders from ten colleges at King Faisal University were selected using a random sampling method. Participants were assessed for depression and anxiety using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) anonymously. Information was also collected for the socio-demographics, presence of chronic disease conditions and other potential correlates as financial, personal and family problems. Results: The prevalence of symptoms of any depression or anxiety was 21.9%. Symptoms of major depression were present in 9.9%, other depression in 19.4% and any depression among 24.4%. Panic and generalized anxiety symptoms were found in 4.0% and in 14.0% respectively. Suicidal ideation in the past four weeks was reported by 1.1% of students. Major depression and anxiety were significantly higher among females. Multivariate regression logistic models revealed that the type of college (nature of received education), female gender, financial and personal problems were significant predictors for major depression. Conclusion: These findings highlight the need to address mental health problems in young adult populations, particularly among those of lower socioeconomic status. Keywords: Depression, anxiety, university students, correlates.Arab journal of psychiatry. 01/2013;