ArticlePDF Available

The effects of individualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal suicidal behavior and attitudes in Turkish adolescents and young adults

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

This study aimed at investigating the effects of individualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal suicidal behavior and attitudes in Turkish adolescents and young adults. A questionnaire containing measures of individualism, collectivism (INDCOL), non-fatal suicidal behaviors and suicidal attitudes was used to collect the data. The results showed that both suicidal ideation and attempts were significantly more frequent in participants classified as individualist than those who were classified as collectivist on the basis of INDCOL scale scores. Participants with individualistic tendencies displayed more permissive attitudes toward suicide than those with collectivistic tendencies but collectivists believed to a greater extent than the individualists that people should communicate suicidal problems to others. Participants with collectivistic tendencies showed more accepting and helping reactions to an imagined suicidal friend than those with individualistic tendencies. Suicidal ideation and attempts were more common among adolescents than young adults. The findings suggest that individualistic and collectivistic value orientations and developmental status specific stressors play a role in the distribution of nonfatal suicidal behavior and the nature of suicidal attitudes.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Personality and Social Psychology
The effects of individualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal
suicidal behavior and attitudes in Turkish adolescents and young adults
MEHMET ESKIN
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Adnan Menderes University, Turkey
Eskin, M. (2013). The effects of individualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal suicidal behavior and attitudes in Turkish adolescents and
young adults. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 54, 493501.
This study aimed at investigating the effects of individualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal suicidal behavior and attitudes in Turkish
adolescents and young adults. A questionnaire containing measures of individualism, collectivism (INDCOL), non-fatal suicidal behaviors and suicidal
attitudes was used to collect the data. The results showed that both suicidal ideation and attempts were signicantly more frequent in participants classi-
ed as individualist than those who were classied as collectivist on the basis of INDCOL scale scores. Participants with individualistic tendencies dis-
played more permissive attitudes toward suicide than those with collectivistic tendencies but collectivists believed to a greater extent than the
individualists that people should communicate suicidal problems to others. Participants with collectivistic tendencies showed more accepting and helping
reactions to an imagined suicidal friend than those with individualistic tendencies. Suicidal ideation and attempts were more common among adolescents
than young adults. The ndings suggest that individualistic and collectivistic value orientations and developmental status specic stressors play a role in
the distribution of nonfatal suicidal behavior and the nature of suicidal attitudes.
Key words: Suicidal behavior, individualism, collectivism, attitudes, Turkey.
Mehmet Eskin,Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Adnan Menderes University,Aydin,Turkey.Tel: +90-532-4733021;
e-mails: meskin@adu.edu.tr; eskin_mehmet@yahoo.com.tr
INTRODUCTION
Suicide is a signicant public health concern in almost all
human societies and it is the leading cause of death around the
globe (Nock, Hwang, Sampson et al., 2009). The World Health
Organization estimates that approximately 1.53 million people
will commit suicide and 10 to 20 times more people will attempt
to kill themselves by the year 2020 (Bertolote & Fleischmann,
2002). Not only suicidal mortality but also non-fatal suicidal
behaviors such as thoughts and attempts are common events par-
ticularly in the younger segments of the worlds human popula-
tions (Evans, Hawton, Rodham & Deeks, 2005; Johnson, Krug
& Potter, 2000; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Friend and Powell,
2009; Mittendorfer-Rutz, 2006). Concerning non-fatal suicidal
behaviors, both prior suicide ideation and attempts were shown
to be related to suicide attempts at a later age (Reinherz, Tanner,
Berger, Beardslee & Fitzmaurice, 2006) and subsequent prema-
ture suicidal deaths (Ostamo & L
onnqvist, 2001). Therefore,
more research efforts are justied for further investigations of
different aspects of the phenomenon.
One of the robust ndings in suicidology is that the preva-
lence of all forms of suicidal behavior varies widely in diverse
sociocultural contexts (Bertolote, Fleischmann, De Leo et al.,
2005; Kokkevi, Rotsika, Arapaki & Richardson, 2012; Lester,
1997; Nock et al., 2008; Weissman, Bland, Canino et al., 1999).
The science of suicide tries to account for intraindividual, inter-
individual as well as intersocietal variations in suicidal behavior.
The cultural values, codes and attitudes about/towards suicide
are often assumed to be the underlying causes of this variation.
Indeed, a number of studies suggest that approving or liberal
cultural attitudes towards suicide are associated with increased
rates of suicidal behavior (Agnew, 1998; Chu, Goldblum, Floyd
& Bongar, 2010; Eckersley & Dear, 2002; Lenzi, Colucci &
Minas, 2012; Stack & Kposowa 2008). Recently Jeon, Park, and
Shim (2013) documented that permissive attitudes toward suicide
was signicantly associated with future suicide intent especially
in persons with depression.
A pertinent question for a better understanding of the intersoci-
etal/cultural variation of suicidal behavior is: In what ways socie-
ties/cultures differ from one another that might have a bearing on
the issue? Cultural and/or cross-cultural psychology has long been
trying to answer this question. The cross-cultural psychology
research has identied individualism and collectivism as two distin-
guishing features of human societies/cultures (Hofstede, 1984;
Ka
gıtcßıbasßı& Berry, 1989). Although individualism and collectiv-
ism are often used to compare cultures, they are also used as within
culture individual difference variable (see Goodwin & Giles,
2003). Cultures emphasizing individualism value personal auton-
omy, uniqueness and independence while those emphasizing col-
lectivism value person-other relatedness or interdependence and
person as being part of a collective (Triandis, 1995). The scientic
literature indicates that individualism and collectivism as two world
views (Oyserman, 1993) inuence self-concept, motivation, affect,
cognition, cognitive processing style, attribution, emotion regula-
tion and social support provisions (Cross, Hardin & Gercek-Swing,
2011; Kitayama & Uskul, 2011; K
uhnen & Oyserman, 2002;
Matsumoto, Yoo & Nakagawa, 2008; Oyserman, Coon &
Kemmelmeier, 2002; Oyserman & Lee, 2008).
The inuence of individualism and collectivism on suicidal
behavior has long been debated in the eld of suicidology. For
instance the seminal work of Durkheim (1897) situated the cause
(s) of self-killing within the relationship between the person and
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2013, 54, 493501 DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12072
the collective. Basically the individualism and collectivism refer
to the nature of the relationship between the individual and the
collective. Recall that individualism places emphasis on self-
reliance, personal uniqueness, independence and a priority on
personal goals whereas collectivism places an emphasis on inter-
dependence, relatedness and a priority on group goals (Triandis,
1995). Individualism and collectivism may be involved in the
onset of a suicidal process in two ways. In the rst, when
confronted with or under the inuence of negative life circum-
stances individuals with individualistic value orientations may
feel personal responsibility for what happened and blame them-
selves. This may further aggravate the feelings of anger, unhappi-
ness and hopelessness. On the other hand, when confronted with
or under the inuence of negative life circumstances individuals
with collectivistic value orientations may attribute responsibility
to others or situations and this may diminish the impact of
feelings of anger, unhappiness and hopelessness on him/her.
In the second, individualism and collectivism may exert an
inuence on the social attitudes towards persons who for one or
the other reasons happened to engage in non-fatal suicidal behav-
iors. As is well known suicide attempts are often conceived as
cries for help. Since individualistic values were associated with
context-independent information processing (K
uhnen & Oyser-
man, 2002) persons with individualistic values may see the rea-
sons for a suicidal act as situated within the person and hence
blame her/him for what happened. On the other hand, since col-
lectivism was associated with context-dependent information pro-
cessing (K
uhnen & Oyserman, 2002), persons with collectivistic
values may see the agent of a suicidal act as a victim and hence
blame the situations or others. Thus, persons who attempt suicide
and live in social contexts where individualistic values prevail
may not receive the help they cry for. On the contrary, persons
who attempt suicide and live in social contexts where collectivis-
tic values prevail may receive the help they cry for.
Although individualistic and collectivistic values have long
been regarded as important sources of information about cultural
differences at both societal and individual levels they, neverthe-
less, have not been fully integrated into the science of suicide.
For Eckersley (2006) cultural factors such as materialism and
individualism are underestimated determinants of population
health and well-being. Research at the aggregate level shows a
positive association between individualism and suicide mortality
(Eckersley & Dear, 2002; Lester, 2003; Rudmin, Ferrada-Noli &
Skolbekken, 2003). Results from research at the individual level
conrm this association. In one study with second-generation
immigrant adolescents in France, Leeuwen, Rodgers, R
egner and
Chabrol (2010) identied individualism as a risk factor for sui-
cidal ideation. In another study with Australian university stu-
dents Scott, Ciarrochi and Deane (2004) found participants with
strong individualistic values (idiocentrism) to be less satised
with and less inclined to seek social support and they had higher
levels of hopelessness and suicide ideation.
Though still low, the rates of suicide mortality have shown a
substantial increase during the last decade in Turkey. The
Turkish suicide rate was 2.67 suicidal deaths per 100,000 popu-
lation in 2000 and it rose to 3.62 deaths per 100,000 in 2011
(TSI, 2007, 2012). This corresponds to an increase rate of 36%
over just a 12 years period. Turkey ranked 26th in individualism
scores among 40 nations (Hofstede, 1984) and is undergoing a
rapid social change including values, urbanization, mode of pro-
duction etc. Of all the 2,677 suicides in 2011, 23.16% was in
the ages of 1524 (TSI, 2012) and suicides increase most in this
age group (Oner, Yenilmez, Ayranci, Gunay & Ozdamar, 2007).
Therefore, it is important to investigate aspects of suicidal
behavior and attitudes in adolescents and young adults in
Turkey. There were four objectives of this study. They were:
1. To investigate the effects of within culture variations of indi-
vidualistic-collectivistic value orientations on non-fatal sui-
cidal behavior.
2. To investigate the effects of within culture variations of indi-
vidualistic-collectivistic value orientations on suicidal
attitudes.
3. To test whether individualism and collectivism would moder-
ate the negative relationship between acceptance of suicide
and social acceptance of suicidal persons that was observed
in previous studies (Eskin, 2004, Eskin, Palova & Krokavco-
va, in press; Eskin, Voracek, Stieger & Altinyazar, 2011).
4. To compare the prevalence of non-fatal suicidal behavior and
attitudes in Turkish adolescents and young adults.
METHOD
Participants
Participants in the study were 541 (65.0% female) high school and 326
(41.4% female) university students (N =867) from two previous studies
(Eskin et al., 2011; Eskin et al., in press). In both studies, Turkish stu-
dents reported similar or higher percentages of suicidal behavior but
showed lower acceptability of suicide and higher social acceptance for
an imagined suicidal friend than their Austrian and Slovak peers. There
were signicantly more females in the high school group than in the uni-
versity group, v
2
(df = 1)
=45.79, p<0.001. High school students were
enrolled in three high schools and the university students were enrolled
in medical school in Aydin situated in south west part of Turkey. Mean
age of high school students was 16.52 years (SD =1.09; range =14
19 years) and the mean age of the university group was 20.40 years (SD
=1.9; range =1729 years). Of the high school group, 144 (26.6%)
were rst-year, 132 (24.4%) second-year, 180 (33.3%) third-year and 85
(15.7%) were fourth-year students. Of the university students, 97
(29.8%) were rst-year, 73 (22.4%) second-year, 75 (23.0%) third-year,
51 (15.6%) fourth-year, 24 (7.4%) fth-year, and 6 (1.8%) sixth-year stu-
dents. Maternal education (number of school years) of high school group
(M =8.86, SD =3.83 years) was lower than the maternal education of
university students (M =9.50, SD =3.86 years), t
(865)
=2.39, p<0.05.
Similarly, paternal education (number of school years) of high school
group (M =10.02, SD =4.09 years) was lower than the paternal educa-
tion of university students (M =11.42, SD =3.72 years), t
(865)
=5.07,
p<0.001.
MEASURES
A questionnaire consisting of the following sections was used to
collect the data.
Sociodemographics
Students were asked about their age, gender, year of study, and
about parental education.
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
494 M.Eskin Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
Suicidal behavior
There were ve questions about past and current suicidal behav-
ior which were responded as Yes =1orNo=0. They were:
1. Have you ever thought of killing yourself?
2. Have you, during the past 12-months, thought of killing your-
self?
3. Do you have thoughts of killing yourself right now?
4. Have you ever made an attempt to kill yourself?
5. Have you, during the past 12-months, made an attempt to kill
yourself?
Participants responding afrmatively to at least one of the
rst three questions were dichotomized as having suicidal idea-
tion and participants responding afrmatively to both or one of
questions 4 and 5 were dichotomized as having attempted sui-
cide. Afrmative responses to these ve questions were found
to be associated with lower problem-solving, social-support,
self-esteem and parental attachment, and higher depression in
adolescents (Eskin et al., 2007), adult psychiatric inpatients
(Eskin, Akoglu & Uygur, 2006) and young adults (Eskin,
2012).
IndividualismCollectivism
Five items tapping individualism and ve items tapping collec-
tivism were selected, on face value, from the INDCOL scale
(Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk and Gelfand, 1995). The INDCOL
scale was previously translated and adapted into Turkish by
Wasti and Erdil (2007) and its psychometric properties were
found to be adequate. Participants responded to INDCOL items
on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from Completely disagree
(1)to Completely agree (5). The INDCOL items, their facto-
rial structure, eigenvalues and variances are given in Table 1.
The alpha coefcient for the individualism scale was 0.62 with
item-total correlations ranging from 0.36 to 0.40 and the alpha
coefcient was 0.63 for the collectivism scale with item-total
correlations ranging from 0.34 to 0.43. Then individualism and
collectivism scores were computed by summing the items under
a factor and then divided by the number of items. Thus, factor
scores range from 1 to 5, higher scores indicating higher levels
of individualism and collectivism.
Attitudes towards suicide
This subsection included Eskins attitudes towards suicide scale
(EATSS) (Eskin, 1999, 2004). It consists of 24 statements about
studentsopinions and attitudes towards suicide and psychologi-
cal problems. Participants responded to these statements on a
5-point Likert scale ranging from Completely disagree (1)to
Completely agree (5). The items, factor names, loadings and
factor internal consistency reliability coefcients are given in
Table 2. Factor scores were computed by summing the items
under a factor and then divided by the number of items. Thus,
factor scores range from 1 to 5, higher scores indicating higher
levels of factor content.
Reactions to a suicidal peer
This subsection included Eskins social reactions to suicidal per-
sons scale (ESRSPS) (Eskin, 1999, 2004). The ESRSPS begins
with a short description of an imagined suicidal close friend
who decides to kill him/herself and reveals this to the partici-
pant. By means of 20 possible reactions to this friend, students
were asked how they would react or feel. Participants responded
to these statements on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from
Completely disagree (1)to Completely agree (5). The items,
factor names, loadings and factor internal consistency reliability
coefcients are given in Table 3. Factor scores were computed
by summing the items under a factor and then divided by the
number of items. Thus, factor scores range from 1 to 5, higher
scores indicating higher levels of factor content.
Current mood
Current mood was assessed by one question: How sad do you
feel right now? Students were asked to respond to this question
on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from Not at all sad (1)to
Very sad(7).
Religiosity
One question (What is the depth of your religious belief?) asked
students about their religious belief. Participants responded to
this question on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from None
whatsoever (1)to Very strong(7).
PROCEDURE
Students lled in the questionnaire during regular class hours.
Permissions were obtained from the local branch of school
authority for the high school and from the faculty of medicine
for university group. In order to ensure full condentiality and
anonymity students were reminded of not to write personal
details on the questionnaire form. No student in both groups
declined participation.
Table 1. Factor analysis of individualism and collectivism items
Factors/Items
Factor
loading
Factor 1: Collectivism (k=2.22; variance: 22.19%)
I like sharing little things with others 0.68
It is important to me that I respect the decisions made
by my others
0.67
My happiness depends very much on the happiness of
those around me
0.62
I would feel proud, if another person gets recognition 0.61
Group members should stick together, no matter what
sacrices are required
0.59
Factor 2: Individualism (k=1.79; variance: 17.93%)
I rely on myself most of the time; I rarely rely on others 0.66
I would rather depend on myself than others 0.64
Competition is the law of nature 0.62
Winning is everything 0.61
Being a unique individual is important to me 0.45
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
Individualism, collectivism, suicidal behavior and attitudes 495Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
STATISTICAL ANALYSES
Data were analyzed by using the Statistical Packages for the
Social Sciences (SPSS-17). In addition to exploratory factor
analysis, t-test, oneway ANOVA and chi-square test, cluster
analysis procedure was used to classify participants into similar
but distinct groups. Theoretically, a person may have high and
low scores on both individualism and collectivism; hence they
are referred to as low and high scorers or undifferentiated. In a
similar fashion, a person may have a high score on individual-
ism and a low score on collectivism; in this case they are
referred to individualist. Finally, a person may have a low score
on individualism and a high score on collectivism; in this case
they are referred to as collectivist. This results in a 2 92 con-
tingency table. Therefore, the number of clusters was set to 4.
In order to better ascertain the possible effects of individualism
and collectivism on suicidal behavior and attitudes the three
groups having predominantly collectivism or individualism and
both high individualism and collectivism values were compared.
Due to low number participants having low scores on both
individualism and collectivism scales were excluded in further
analyses.
Table 2. Factor analysis of opinions about and attitudes towards suicide
items
Factors/items
Factor
loading
Factor 1: Acceptability of suicide (k=6.12; variance: 25.50%;
a=0.90)
Someone who is tired of living has the right to kill
him/herself.
0.86
Someone who has gone bankrupt has the right to
kill him/herself.
0.84
Suicide can be solution to some problems. 0.80
Suicide can be the only way out of lifes problems. 0.77
Killing oneself by committing suicide is a right
behavior.
0.73
Someone suffering from an incurable illness has the right
to kill him/herself.
0.70
People have the right to kill themselves. 0.69
Someone who dishonored his/her family has the right
to kill him/herself.
0.68
Factor 2: Punishment after death (k=3.71; variance:
15.45%; a=0.91)
0.91
People who kill themselves are going to be punished
in the other world.
0.89
People who attempt suicide are going to be punished
in the other world.
0.86
People who kill themselves by committing suicide
are sinful.
0.84
People who think and plan suicide are going to be
punished in the other world.
0.72
There is a life after death.
Factor 3: Suicide as a sign of mental illness (k=2.17;
variance: 9.04%; a=0.95)
People who kill themselves by committing suicide
are mentally ill.
0.94
People who attempt suicide are mentally ill. 0.93
People who think and plan suicide are mentally ill. 0.92
Factor 4: Communicating psychological problems
(k=1.64; variance: 6.83%; a=0.66)
A young person who thinks and plans suicide should
tell this to his/her parents.
0.75
Young people should tell their psychological problems
to their parents.
0.70
People should tell their psychological problems to
their friends.
0.64
A person who thinks and plans suicide should tell
this to his/her friends and thereby ask for help.
0.63
Factor 5: Hiding suicidal behavior (k=1.60; variance:
6.67%; a=0.73)
Families who lose a daughter or son from suicide
should hide this from their neighbours.
0.88
Families whose daughter or son attempts suicide
should hide this from their neighbours.
0.87
Factor 6: Open reporting and discussion of suicide
(k=1.27; variance: 5.31%; a=0.57)
Suicide news should be written openly in the
newspapers.
0.82
The matter of suicide should be discussed openly
among friends.
0.81
Table 3. Factor analysis of social reactions to suicidality items
Suppose a close friend of you tells you that s/he
decided to kill him/herself. How would you react or feel?
Factor
loading
Factor 1: Social acceptance (k=6.41; variance: 32.05%; a=0.90)
If I was going to arrange a party at my home, I would
invite him/her.
0.83
I would call him/her more often than I used to. 0.82
If I was going to a movie or theatre, I would ask
if s/he wants to come along.
0.81
I would invite him/her to my home more often than
I used to.
0.80
If I was going to a movie or the theatre with my friends,
I would ask if s/he wants to come along.
0.79
I would arrange a party at my home and invite my
other friends and him/her, so that s/he can make
new friends.
0.70
Factor 2. Social rejection & disapproval of suicidal
disclosure (k=3.13; variance: 15.66%; a=0.77)
I would feel that s/he did not t into my circle of
friends any more.
0.75
I would be afraid because s/he might be dangerous. 0.74
I would be surprised that s/he disclosed his/her
private plans.
0.69
I would be surprised that s/he revealed things that
one usually does not.
0.66
I would have doubts about whether the things s/he
said were really true.
0.62
Factor 3: Helping a suicidal friend (k=1.40; variance:
7.00%; a=0.79)
I would contact his/her parents and tell them about it. 0.63
I would advise him/her to seek professional help. 0.62
I would try to prevent him/her from taking his/her life. 0.60
I would try to help him/her to solve his/her problems. 0.56
I would try to persuade him/her to make up his/her mind. 0.55
Factor 4: Inquiry & emotional involvement (k=1.29;
variance: 6.44%; a=0.71)
I would engage in a deep discussion about suicide
with him/her.
0.72
I would ask a lot of questions to try and understand why. 0.68
I would tell him/her that s/he was choosing a cowardly
solution to his/her problems.
0.64
I would get angry with him/her because s/he had
decided to take his/her life.
0.59
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
496 M.Eskin Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
RESULTS
Classication of participants on the bases of INDCOL scores
The cluster analysis procedure classied 343 (Total =39.6%,
high school =35.1%, university =48.6) of participants as having
higher collectivism but lower individualism scores (cluster cen-
ters: collectivism =3.99, individualism =3.09) and 169 students
(Total =19.5%, high school =18.7%, university =21.7) as hav-
ing higher individualism but lower collectivism scores (cluster
centers: individualism =4.05, collectivism =3.10). A total of
341 (Total =39.3%, high school =46.2%, university =29.7)
students were classied as having both high individualism and
collectivism scores (cluster centers: individualism =4.23, collec-
tivism =4.28), and 14 participants (1.6%) had both low individ-
ualism and collectivism scores (cluster centers: individualism =
2.11, collectivism =2.00).
Cross tabulation of the three clusters by developmental groups
(adolescent vs. young adult) yielded a signicant relationship,
v
2
(df = 2)
=23.70, p<0.001. More participants were classied
as high scorers in the high school than in the university students
but the reverse was true for those scoring high on collectivism
but low on individualism. Excluding high scorers, the cross
tabulation of the two groups by developmental groups (adoles-
cent vs. young adult) produced a non-signicant relationship,
v
2
(df = 1)
=0.87, p>0.05.
Suicidal behavior and individualism-collectivism
Table 4 shows the numbers and the percentages of students with
suicidal behavior in the three groups. As the table shows both
suicidal ideation and attempts were more common in students
with individualistic tendencies than those with collectivistic
tendencies.
Suicidal attitudes and individualism-collectivism
The Table 5 displays the results of group comparisons by one-
way ANOVA. It shows that the three groups differed signi-
cantly on three of the attitudes towards suicide factors and four
of the social reactions to an imagined suicidal peer factors. Post
hoc comparisons indicated that while participants with individu-
alistic tendencies scored higher than those with collectivistic ten-
dencies on the acceptability of suicide factor, students with
collectivistic tendencies scored signicantly higher than those
with individualistic tendencies on communicating psychological
problems factor. Students with collectivistic tendencies scored
higher than those with individualistic tendencies on social accep-
tance of and helping a suicidal friend factors. High scorers
scored signicantly higher than collectivists on social rejection
and disapproval of suicidal disclosure, and inquiry and emotional
involvement factors.
The correlation coefcients of acceptability of suicide to social
acceptance of a suicidal friend were, r=0.25 among individu-
alists, r =0.04 among collectivists and r =0.13 among par-
ticipants scoring high on both individualism and collectivism.
The correlation coefcients of acceptability of suicide to help-
ing a suicidal friend were r =0.49 among individualists,
r=0.28 and r =0.35 among participants scoring high on
both individualism and collectivism. The differences between the
correlation coefcients were tested by z-tests (Glass & Hopkins,
1984). The correlation coefcient of acceptability of suicide to
social acceptance of a suicidal friend among the collectivists
was signicantly lower than the correlation coefcient in
individualists (z =2.25, p <0.05). In a similar fashion, the
correlation coeffcient of acceptability of suicide to helping a sui-
cidal friend among collectivists was signicantly lower than the
correlation coefcient in individualists (z =2.61, p <0.05). The
other comparisons were non-signicant.
Differences between high school and university students
Table 6 presents the numbers and the percentages of students
with suicidal behavior in high school and university students.
The table shows that signicantly more high school students
reported both suicidal ideation and attempts than university
students.
Table 7 presents the means and standard deviations of atti-
tudes towards suicide and attitudes towards suicidal individuals
factors, perceived religiosity and sadness in high school and uni-
versity students. High school students scored higher than the
university students on punishment after death and suicide as a
sign of mental illness factors but university students scored
higher than the high school group on communicating psycholog-
ical problems and hiding suicidal behavior factors of the atti-
tudes towards suicide. High school students scored higher than
the university on social rejection and disapproval of suicidal
Table 4. Numbers and percentages of suicidal behaviors in the three groups of participants
Type of suicidal behavior
High on I & C Collectivists Individualists
v
2
Pn % n% n%
Suicidal ideation
Life-time suicidal ideation 105 30.8 76 22.3 68 40.2 18.23 0.000
Within the past 12 months suicidal ideation 58 17.0 43 12.5 38 22.5 8.43 0.015
Current suicidal ideation 23 6.7 7 2.0 17 10.1 15.77 0.000
Life-time, past 12-month, or current suicide ideation 118 34.6 78 22.7 69 40.8 20.62 0.000
Suicide attempt
Life-time suicide attempts 37 10.9 19 5.5 21 12.4 8.84 0.012
Within the past 12 months suicide attempts 18 5.3 8 2.3 11 6.5 5.97 0.051
Life-time or past 12-month suicide attempts 39 11.4 20 5.8 22 13.0 9.30 0.010
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
Individualism, collectivism, suicidal behavior and attitudes 497Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
disclosures and inquiry and emotional involvement factors of the
reactions to an imagined suicidal friend. High school students
rated themselves as more religious than the university students.
DISCUSSION
The current study explored the effects of cultural value orienta-
tions and developmental status on suicidal behavior and attitudes
in Turkish adolescents and young adults. Individualism and col-
lectivism are two cultural syndromes which were found to be
associated with country level suicide rates (Eckersley & Dear,
2002; Lester, 2003; Rudmin et al., 2003). Consistent with
Turkeys country ranking individualism score among 40 nations,
the cluster analysis classied 39.6% of participants as having
predominantly collectivistic and 39.3% as having both collectiv-
istic and individualistic value orientations. Only 19.5% of
participants were classied as having predominantly individualis-
tic values. Turkish culture stresses both interpersonal relatedness
and separation (Ka
gıtcßıbasßı, 1996; Tamar, Bildik, Kosem et al.,
2006). The results from the cluster analysis are in line with this
assertion.
The results from this study indicate that within culture varia-
tions of individualism and collectivism are related to reports of
suicidal behavior. In harmony with ndings from Scott et al.
(2004) the results of this study have shown that suicidal ideations
and attempts were signicantly more common in participants hav-
ing predominantly individualistic value orientations than those
with collectivistic values. A pertinent question here is that why
suicidal behaviors are more common in persons with individualis-
tic values compared to those with collectivistic values? Two plau-
sible explanations may be offered for this question. First,
scientic evidence indicate that persons with individualistic val-
ues use individual based decontextualized information processing
for attribution and explanation whereas persons with collectivistic
values use context based contextualized information processing.
Studies indicate that while persons with predominantly individual-
istic values make dispositional causal attributions, those with pre-
dominantly collectivistic values make situational attributions
(Oyserman et al., 2002). When confronted with negative life cir-
cumstances persons with individualistic values may attribute the
event to their personal deciency while those with collectivistic
values may attribute the event to situational factors. The evidence
Table 6. Number and percentages of suicidal behaviors in high school
and university students
Type of suicidal behavior
High
school University
v
2
pn %n%
Suicidal ideation
Life-time suicidal
ideation
172 31.8 84 25.9 3.35 0.067
Within the past
12 months suicidal
ideation
107 19.8 39 12.0 8.87 0.003
Current suicidal
ideation
40 7.4 12 3.7 4.93 0.026
Life-time, past
12-month, or current
suicidal ideation
183 33.8 89 27.3 4.02 0.045
Suicide attempt
Life-time suicide
attempts
64 11.8 19 5.8 8.46 0.004
Within the past
12 months suicide
attempts
36 6.7 7 2.1 8.77 0.003
Life-time or past
12-month suicide
attempts
66 12.2 21 6.4 7.47 0.006
Table 5. Group comparisons of suicidal attitudes in the three groups by oneway ANOVA
Variables
High on I & C Collectivists Individualists
FpMSDMSDMSD
Attitudes towards suicide
Acceptability of suicide 1.58 0.74 1.60 0.72 1.92 0.95 11.97 0.000
a
Punishment after death 3.89 1.07 3.56 1.11 3.65 1.09 8.10 0.000
b
Suicide as a sign of mental illness 2.93 1.32 2.80 1.26 2.82 1.30 1.03 0.359
Communicating psychological problems 3.74 0.83 3.80 0.83 3.53 0.98 5.29 0.005
c
Hiding suicidal behavior 2.63 1.19 2.55 1.04 2.68 1.15 0.91 0.404
Open reporting and discussion of suicide 2.91 1.13 2.93 1.03 3.07 1.17 1.35 0.259
Reactions to a suicidal friend
Social acceptance 4.36 0.70 4.18 0.58 4.00 0.87 15.59 0.000
d
Social rejection & disapproval
of suicidal disclosure
2.62 0.93 2.44 0.79 2.50 0.87 3.76 0.024
e
Helping a suicidal friend 4.55 0.55 4.38 0.57 4.20 0.83 17.72 0.000
f
Inquiry & emotional involvement 3.91 0.89 3.59 0.86 3.62 0.94 12.07 0.000
g
Sadness 3.27 2.12 3.02 1.87 3.45 1.97 2.96 0.052
Religiosity 5.28 1.53 5.11 1.62 5.04 1.73 1.50 0.224
Notes: Post Hoc Comparisons with Tukeys HSD test.
a
Individualists >Collectivists; Individualists >High on I & C; Collectivists =High on I & C.
b
Individualists =Collectivists; Individualists =High on I & C; Collectivists <High on I & C.
c
Individualists <Collectivists; Individualists <High on I
& C; Collectivists =High on I & C.
d
Individualists <Collectivists; Individualists <High on I & C; Collectivists <High on I & C.
e
Individualists =
Collectivists; Individualists =High on I & C; Collectivists <High on I & C.
f
Individualists <Collectivists; Individualists <High on I & C; Collectivists
<High on I & C.
g
Individualists =Collectivists; Individualists <High on I & C; Collectivists <High on I & C.
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
498 M.Eskin Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
showed that attributing negative events to self-aws was associ-
ated with depression (Peters, Constans & Mathews, 2011; Robins
& Hayes, 1995) which is the strongest correlate of suicidal behav-
ior. Second, one of the dening features of individualism and col-
lectivism is the degree of closeness with others. Persons with
individualistic values dene themselves as autonomous entities
being separate from others while those with collectivistic values
dene themselves in relation with others. Assuming that closeness
with others is a universal human need (Baumeister & Leary,
1995), persons with predominantly individualistic values may be
at a disadvantaged position in gratifying their need compared to
those with collectivistic values. In line with this view, research
ndings have shown that persons with individualistic values had a
smaller number of and less satisfying social support networks,
and had fewer intentions to seek-help (Scott et al., 2004).
The effects of individualistic and collectivistic values on atti-
tudes to suicide and suicidal persons have not been subjected to
empirical investigation before. The ndings from the current
study indicate that within cultural variations in individualism and
collectivism affect not only suicidal behavior but also suicidal
attitudes. Consistent with previous work (Eckersley & Dear,
2002; Lenzi et al., 2012; Stack & Kposowa 2008), the results
showed that students with predominantly individualistic values
accept suicide to a greater extent than those with collectivistic
values. Participants with predominantly collectivistic values
believed to a greater extent than those with individualistic values
that people should reveal their suicidal and psychological prob-
lems to persons in their social milieu. Consistent with this view,
they also displayed higher social acceptance of and greater help-
ing reactions for an imagined suicidal peer (Table 5). Students
with individualistic values tended to display more rejecting and
disapproving attitudes to a suicidal peer and suicidal disclosures.
Taking the results of this study into account one can speculate
that persons with predominantly individualistic value orientations
may easily nd themselves in a deadly trap like suicide. The
nature of individualistic values via their interactions with unfa-
vorable life circumstances through the processes of suicide
acceptance, attribution and interpersonal style may start a
suicidal process. When a suicidal process commences, the person
involved being with a greater likelihood of someone with an
individualistic value orientation, s/he will be less likely to reveal
his/her suicidality to others and thereby ask for help. The results
of this study showed also that persons with predominantly indi-
vidualistic values were less supportive and helpful to an imag-
ined suicidal peer. Extrapolating from the empirical evidence
that people build their social networks with similar others
(Sijtsema, Ojanen, Veenstra, Lindenberg, Hawley & Little, 2009;
Selfhout, Branje, ter Bogt & Meeus, 2009) it seems that a person
undergoing a suicidal process, being someone with predomi-
nantly individualistic values and having social networks similar
to themselves, will not be able to receive social support which is
one of the strongest protective factors against suicide.
An intriguing and consistent nding from studies involving
Turkish high school students undergoing secular and religious
education (Eskin, 2004), Slovak and Turkish high school stu-
dents (Eskin et al., in press) and Austrian and Turkish medical
students (Eskin et al., 2011) was a negative relationship between
the acceptability of suicide and social acceptance of an imagined
suicidal friend. The results from this study indicate that individu-
alistic-collectivistic values moderate the relationship between the
acceptance of suicide and social acceptance of suicidal individu-
als. It seems that one is positive to suicide but negative to those
who engage in suicidal behavior in persons with predominantly
individualistic values but this association diminishes to a non-
signicant magnitude in participants with predominantly collec-
tivistic values. The magnitude of the negative relationship
between suicide acceptance and helping a suicidal friend also
gets diminished considerably in students with predominantly col-
lectivistic values compared to the correlation coefcient in those
with predominantly individualistic values. One can speculate
here that persons adhering to individualistic values see life as a
battleeld where winners are celebrated but losers are con-
demned or at least not liked.
The results have shown that suicidal ideation and attempts
were more common in adolescents than in young adults despite
the fact that adolescents rated themselves more religious than the
Table 7. Comparisons of high school and university students on suicidal attitudes by t-tests
Variables
High School University
t P CohensdMSDMSD
Attitudes towards suicide
Acceptability of suicide 1.69 0.87 1.66 0.75 0.57 0.567 0.04
Punishment after death 3.83 1.08 3.45 1.13 4.90 0.000 0.34
Suicide as a sign of mental illness 3.01 1.36 2.57 1.14 4.87 0.000 0.35
Communicating psychological problems 3.64 0.96 3.78 0.76 2.29 0.022 0.16
Hiding suicidal behavior 2.54 1.18 2.74 1.03 2.56 0.011 0.18
Open reporting and discussion of suicide 2.96 1.20 2.91 0.92 0.65 0.517 0.05
Reactions to a suicidal friend
Social acceptance 4.22 0.83 4.14 0.60 1.57 0.116 0.11
Social rejection & disapproval of
suicidal disclosure
2.57 0.92 2.44 0.78 2.11 0.035 0.15
Helping a suicidal friend 4.40 0.76 4.37 0.51 0.72 0.473 0.05
Inquiry & emotional involvement 3.83 0.91 3.49 0.90 5.33 0.000 0.38
Sadness 3.22 2.12 3.23 1.83 0.80 0.936 0.01
Religiosity 5.30 1.57 4.84 1.71 3.99 0.000 0.28
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
Individualism, collectivism, suicidal behavior and attitudes 499Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
university group. Suicides in Turkey are mainly concentrated in
the younger age groups (Oner et al., 2007) and in 2011, 47.78%
of all suicides occurred in the 034 age range (TSI, 2012). The
nding that suicidal behavior is more common in adolescents
than in young adults has to do with the country specic stresses
of adolescence and the characteristics of the sample of this
study. For high school students in Turkey the most important
stressor is to get a study place at the university. Annually,
1,900,000 students take the university entrance exam and
approximately 700,000 get a place in the higher educational
institutions in Turkey and in the Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus. The young adult sample of this study was medical stu-
dents who already were enrolled in medicine which is one the
most prestigious academic elds with employment guaranteed
upon completion. Therefore, one can assume that the young
adult sample in the present study experience less stress than the
adolescent sample.
Although the ndings from this study show effects of within
country variations of individualism-collectivism and develop-
mental status on non-fatal suicidal behavior and attitudes one
should be cautious when generalizing the results from this study
for a number of reasons. First, the high school and medical stu-
dents are not representative of the general youth population of
Turkey, namely, non-student, rural, working, unemployed youth.
Second, retrospective recall of suicidal ideation and attempts
addressed in this study may not be equivalent to those leading to
a suicidal mortality. Third, the measurement of INDCOL
involved ve individualism and ve collectivism items sampled
from a large scale measure of cultural syndrome with relatively
low internal consistency reliability. Therefore, the ndings from
the study should be seen as informative but tentative at this
stage. For this reason, future researches with representative sam-
ples and better measuring instrument and control variables are
warranted. Fourth, the results of this study may be peculiar to
the case of Turkey. Therefore future research should test the
cross-cultural generality of these ndings. Fifth, the study is not
an experimental one and hence the results should not be inter-
preted in a causal way. In closing, the ndings from this empiri-
cal investigation seem to support the claim by Eckersley (2006)
that individualism is a health hazard but refute the claim by
Veenhoven (1999) that it ts human nature better.
REFERENCES
Agnew, R. (1998). The approval of suicide: A social-psychological
model. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior,28, 205225.
Baumeister, R. & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for
interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.
Psychological Bulletin,117, 497529.
Bertolote, J. M., Fleischmann, A., De Leo, D., Bolhari, J., Botega,
N., De Silva, D., Thanh, H. T. T., Phillips, M., Schlebusch, L.,
V
arnik, A., Vijayakumar, L. & Wasserman, D. (2005). Suicide
attempts, plans, and ideation in culturally diverse sites: the WHO
SUPRE-MISS community survey. Psychological Medicine,35,
14571465.
Bertolote, J. M. & Fleischmann, A. (2002). A global perspective in the
epidemiology of suicide. Suicidologi,7,68.
Chu, J.P., Goldblum, P., Floyd, R. & Bongar, B. (2010). The cultural
theory and model of suicide. Applied and Preventive Psychology,14,
2540.
Cross, S. E., Hardin, E. E. & Gercek-Swing, B. (2011). The what, how,
why, and where of self-construal. Personality and Social Psychology
Review,15, 142179.
Durkheim, E. (1897). Suicide. New York: Free Press.
Eckersley, R. (2006). Is modern Western culture a health hazard? Inter-
national Journal of Epidemiology,35, 252258.
Eckersley, R. & Dear, K. (2002). Cultural correlates of youth suicide.
Social Science & Medicine,55, 18911904.
Eskin, M. (1999). Social reactions of Swedish and Turkish adolescents
to a close friends suicidal disclosure. Social Psychiatry and Psychi-
atric Epidemiology,34, 492497.
Eskin, M. (2004). The effects of religious versus secular education on
suicide ideation and suicidal attitudes in adolescents in Turkey.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology,39, 536542.
Eskin, M. (2012). The role of childhood sexual abuse, childhood gender
nonconformity, self-esteem and parental attachment in predicting sui-
cide ideation and attempts in Turkish young adults. Suicidology
Online,3, 114123.
Eskin, M., Akoglu, A. & Uygur, B. (2006). Traumatic life events and
problem solving skills in psychiatric outpatients: Their relationships
with suicidal behavior. Turkish Journal of Psychiatry,17, 266275.
Eskin, M., Ertekin, K., Dereboy, C. & Demirkiran, F. (2007). Risk fac-
tors for and protective factors against adolescent suicidal behavior in
Turkey. Crisis,28, 131139.
Eskin, M., Palova, E. & Chylova, M. (in press). Suicidal behavior and
attitudes in Slovak and Turkish high school students: A cross-cultural
investigation. Archives of Suicide Research.
Eskin, M., Voracek, M., Stieger, S. & Altinyazar, V. (2011). A cross-
cultural investigation of suicidal behavior and attitudes in Austrian
and Turkish medical students. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric
Epidemiology,46, 813823.
Evans, E., Hawton, K., Rodham, K. & Deeks, J. (2005). The prevalence
of suicidal phenomenon in adolescents: A systematic review of popu-
lation-based studies. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior,35,
239250.
Glass, G. V. & Hopkins, K. D. (1984). Statistical methods in education
and psychology. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Goodwin, R. & Giles, S. (2003). Social support provision and cultural
values in Indonesia and Britain. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychol-
ogy,34, 240245.
Hofstede, G. (1984). Cultures consequences: International differences in
work-related values. Newbury Park: Sage.
Jeon, H. J., Park, J. H. & Shim, E. J. (2013). Permissive attitude toward
suicide and future intent in individuals with and without depression:
Results from a nationwide survey in Korea. The Journal of Nervous
and Mental Disease,201, 286291.
Johnson, G. R., Krug, E. G. & Potter, L. B. (2000). Suicide among ado-
lescents and young adults: A cross-national comparison of 34 coun-
tries. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior,30,7482.
Ka
gıtcßıbasßı,C
ß. (1996). Family and human development across cultures:
A view from the other side. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ka
gıtcßıbasßı, C. & Berry, J. W. (1989). Cross-cultural psychology: Cur-
rent research and trends. Annual Review of Psychology,40, 493531.
Kitayama, S. & Uskul, A. K. (2011). Culture, mind, and the brain: Cur-
rent evidence and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology,
62, 419449.
Kokkevi, A., Rotsika, V., Arapaki, A. & Richardson, C. (2012). Adoles-
centsself-reported suicide attempts, self-harm thoughts and their cor-
relates across 17 European countries. Journal of Child Psychology
and Psychiatry,53, 381389.
K
uhnen, U. & Oyserman, D. (2002). Thinking about the self inuences
thinking in general: Cognitive consequences of salient self-concept.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,38, 492499.
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Friend, J. & Powell, A. (2009). Adolescent
suicide, gender, and culture: A rate and risk factor analysis. Aggres-
sion and Violent Behavior,14, 402414.
Leeuwen, N., Rodgers, R., R
egner, I. & Chabrol, H. (2010). The role of
acculturation in suicidal ideation among second-generation immigrant
adolescents in France. Transcultural Psychiatry,47, 812832.
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
500 M.Eskin Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
Lenzi, M., Colucci, E. & Minas, H. (2012). Suicide, culture, and society
from a cross-national perspective. Cross-Cultural Research,46,
5071.
Lester, D. (1997). Suicide in an international perspective. Suicide and
Life Threatening Behavior,27, 104111.
Lester, D. (2003). Nationsrated individualism and suicide and homicide
rates. Psychological Reports,92, 426426.
Matsumoto, D., Yoo, S. H. & Nakagawa, S. (2008). Culture, emotion
regulation, and adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology,94, 925937.
Mittendorfer-Rutz, E. (2006). Trends of youth suicide in Europe during
the 1980s and 1990sgender differences and implications for preven-
tion. The Journal of Mens Health & Gender,3, 250257.
Nock, M.K., Borges, G., Bromet, E.J., Alonso, J., Angermeyer, M.,
Beautrrais, A. & Williams, D. (2008). Cross-national prevalence and
risk factors for suicidal ideation, plans and attempts. British Journal
of Psychiatry,192,98105.
Nock, M. K., Hwang, I., Sampson, N., Kessler, R. C., Angermeyer, M.,
Beautrais, A. & Williams, D. R. (2009). Cross-national analysis of
the associations among mental disorders and suicidal behavior: Find-
ings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. PLoS Medicine,
6,117.
Oner, S., Yenilmez, C., Ayranci, U., Gunay, Y. & Ozdamar, K. (2007).
Sexual differences in the completed suicides in Turkey. European
Psychiatry,22, 223228.
Ostamo, A. & L
onnqvist, J. (2001). Excess mortality of suicide attemp-
ters. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology,36,2935.
Oyserman, D. (1993). The lens of personhood: Viewing the self and oth-
ers in a multicultural society. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology,65, 9931009.
Oyserman, D., Coon, H. M. & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking
individualism and collectivism: evaluation of theoretical assumptions
and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin,128,372.
Oyserman, D. & Lee, S. W. (2008). Does culture inuence what and
how we think? Effects of priming individualism and collectivism.
Psychological Bulletin,134, 311342.
Peters, K. D., Constans, J. I. & Mathews, A. (2011). Experimental modi-
cation of attribution processes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,
120, 168173.
Reinherz, H.Z., Tanner, J.L., Berger, S.R., Beardslee, W.R. & Fitzmau-
rice, G.M. (2006). Adolescent suicidal ideation as predictive of psy-
chopathology, suicidal behavior and compromised functioning at age
30. American Journal of Psychiatry,163, 12261232.
Robins, C. J. & Hayes, A. H. (1995). The role of causal attributions in
the prediction of depression. In G. M. Buchanan & M. E. P.
Seligman (Eds.), Explanatory style (pp. 7198). Hillsdale, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum.
Rudmin, W. F., Ferrada-Noli, M. & Skolbekken, J. A. (2003). Questions
of culture, age and gender in the epidemiology of suicide. Scandina-
vian Journal of Psychology,44, 373381.
Scott, G., Ciarrochi, J. & Deane, F. P. (2004). Disadvantages of being an
individualist in an individualistic culture: Idiocentrism, emotional
competence, stress, and mental health. Australian Psychologist,39,
143154.
Selfhout, M. H., Branje, S. J., ter Bogt, T. F. & Meeus, W. H. (2009).
The role of music preferences in early adolescentsfriendship forma-
tion and stability. Journal of Adolescence,32,95107.
Sijtsema, J. J., Ojanen, T., Veenstra, R., Lindenberg, S., Hawley, P. H.
& Little, T. D. (2009). Forms and functions of aggression in adoles-
cent friendship selection and inuence: A longitudinal social network
analysis. Social Development,19, 515534.
Singelis, T. M., Triandis, H. C., Bhawuk, D. P. & Gelfand, M. J. (1995).
Horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism:
A theoretical and measurement renement. Cross-cultural Research,
29, 240275.
Stack, S. & Kposowa, A.J. (2008). The association of suicide rates with
individual-level suicide attitudes: a cross-national analysis. Social
Science Quarterly,89,3959.
Tamar, M., Bildik, T., Kosem, F. S., Kesikci, H., Tatar, A., Yaman, B.,
Erermi, S. & Ozbaran, B. (2006). The characteristics of separation-
individuation in Turkish high school students. Adolescence,41,
177184.
Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism & collectivism. Boulder CO:
Westview Press.
TSI (Turkish Statistical Institute, Prime Ministry, Republic of Turkey)
(2007). Suicide statistics 2007. Turkish Statistical Institute Printing
Division, Ankara.
TSI (Turkish Statistical Institute, Prime Ministry, Republic of Turkey)
(2012). Suicide statistics 2012. Turkish Statistical Institute Printing
Division, Ankara.
Veenhoven, R. (1999). Quality-of-life in individualistic society. Social
Indicators Research,48, 159188.
Wasti, S. A. & Erdil, E. S. (2007). Measurement of individualism and
collectivism: Validation of the self-construal scale and INDCOL in
Turkish. Y
onetim Aras
ßtırmalarıDergisi, 7, 3966.
Weissman, M. M., Bland, R. C., Canino, G. J., Greenwald, S., Hwu, H. G.,
Joyce, P. R. & Yeh, E. K. (1999). Prevalence of suicide ideation and
suicide attempts in nine countries. Psychological Medicine,29,917.
Received 14 April 2013, accepted 24 June 2013
© 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations
Individualism, collectivism, suicidal behavior and attitudes 501Scand J Psychol 54 (2013)
... One study showed that participants with individualistic tendencies displayed more permissive attitudes towards suicide than those with collectivistic tendencies. Still, collectivists believed to a greater extent than the individualists that people should communicate suicidal problems to others (Eskin, 2013). Participants with collectivistic tendencies showed more accepting and helping reactions to an imagined suicidal friend than those with individualistic tendencies (Eskin, 2013). ...
... Still, collectivists believed to a greater extent than the individualists that people should communicate suicidal problems to others (Eskin, 2013). Participants with collectivistic tendencies showed more accepting and helping reactions to an imagined suicidal friend than those with individualistic tendencies (Eskin, 2013). Eskin (2013, p. 499) argued: "persons adhering to individualistic values see life as a battlefield where winners are celebrated but losers are condemned or at least not liked." ...
... However, the presumption that people with a particular cultural orientation are more accepting/rejecting of suicide and/or suicidal persons may be a premature conclusion (Eskin, 2013;Park et al., 2016) and may involve some form of mind reading and intention feeding. Individuals with an individualistic cultural orientation may see reactions involving person exclusion as more effective for preventing suicide than reactions involving phenomenon exclusion. ...
Article
Full-text available
Based on their cultural orientation, people display approving/disapproving attitudes to suicide/suicidal persons that may be seen as either phenomenon excluding or person excluding. We tested whether cultural value orientations and suicidal attitudes were related to beliefs in the efficacy of excluding the phenomenon versus the person for preventing suicide. A total of 857 Turkish university students responded to a survey that include measures of cultural orientation, prevention beliefs related to phenomenon exclusion and person exclusion, and suicide related attitudes. While participants with an individualistic value orientation reported person exclusion to be more effective in preventing suicide, participants with a collectivistic orientation believed phenomenon exclusion to be more effective. Permissive attitudes to suicide were inversely related to beliefs in the effectiveness of phenomenon exclusion but positively to beliefs in the effectiveness of person exclusion for preventing suicide, but the magnitude of the relationships was low. While phenomenon exclusion was positively related to the social acceptance of and helping for a suicidal peer, the opposite was true for person exclusion prevention beliefs (The magnitude of the relationships was low to medium). Participants who attempted suicide believed less in the efficacy of phenomenon exclusion in preventing suicide than those who did not report any suicide attempts. Our findings imply that culture-sensitive prevention efforts in contexts and individuals with an individualistic value orientation may target reducing the stigma surrounding suicidal persons, but in contexts and individuals with a collectivistic value orientation, they may target decreasing the stigma surrounding the phenomenon of suicide itself.
... Domain-general cultural factors associated with the risk of suicide likely operate through domain-specific factors such as attitudes towards suicide. Prior research demonstrated that these attitudes varied across and within cultures (Eskin et al., 2016a) and they were strongly associated with suicidality (Eskin, 2013). Specifically, individuals with an individualistic value orientation had higher acceptability of suicide than individuals with a collectivistic value orientation (Eskin, 2013;Wong et al., 2011;Yavuz Yaren, 2013). ...
... Prior research demonstrated that these attitudes varied across and within cultures (Eskin et al., 2016a) and they were strongly associated with suicidality (Eskin, 2013). Specifically, individuals with an individualistic value orientation had higher acceptability of suicide than individuals with a collectivistic value orientation (Eskin, 2013;Wong et al., 2011;Yavuz Yaren, 2013). People with higher levels of collectivistic values were less prone to experience suicide ideation in individualistic societies whereas higher levels of individualism were protective against suicidal ideation in collectivistic Muslim countries (Eskin et al., 2020b). ...
Article
Background : Research on suicidality in low to middle-income countries is scarce. We addressed this issue by investigating suicidality in a cross-national college student samples from 11 predominantly low to middle-income majority Muslim countries. Methods : The sample consisted of 7,427 college students (56% female) who reported to be affiliated with Islam. Data on self-construal, social support, negative life-events, acceptability of suicide, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts were collected with self-administered questionnaires. Results : Acceptability of suicide and the experience of negative life-events were positively, and perceived social support was negatively associated with suicidal ideation. Interdependent self-construal was negatively related to the acceptability of suicide and positively associated with perceived social support, implying a negative indirect effect on suicidal ideation although its direct effect was positive. The number of negative life-events was the strongest positive predictor of ever attempting suicide. The interdependent self-construal moderated the association of negative life-events with suicide attempts. Limitations : Cross-sectional and self-report nature of the study were its major limitations. Participants may have suppressed their responses about suicide because of religious and legal reasons. Conclusion : Remarkable similarities across 11 country samples emerged in the linkages between cultural and interpersonal factors with suicidality. Our findings highlight the value of a nuanced approach to suicidality, that can recognize the differences in the processes associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, as well as the need to consider the interplay of a broad range of personal, interpersonal, and cultural influences.
... India &Sarita, 2016), pro-social decisions under social infl uence (Wei, Zhao, & Zheng, 2016), academic honesty vs. dishonesty (Koscielniak & Bojanowska, 2019), aggressive behaviour (Knofo, Danie, & Kassabri, 2008), academic achievement (Tarabashkina & Lietz, 2011;Asghar, Rathore, & Siddiqui, 2019), participation in school activities (Hofer, Schmid, Fries, Zivkovic, & Dietz, 2009), suicide attempts (Eskin, 2013) and sexual behaviour (Goodwin, Realo, Kwiatkowska, Kozlova, Nguyen, & Nizharadze, 2002). ...
... India &Sarita, 2016), pro-social decisions under social influence (Wei, Zhao, & Zheng, 2016), academic honesty vs. dishonesty (Koscielniak & Bojanowska, 2019), aggressive behaviour (Knofo, Danie, & Kassabri, 2008), academic achievement (Tarabashkina & Lietz, 2011;Asghar, Rathore, & Siddiqui, 2019), participation in school activities (Hofer, Schmid, Fries, Zivkovic, & Dietz, 2009), suicide attempts (Eskin, 2013) and sexual behaviour (Goodwin, Realo, Kwiatkowska, Kozlova, Nguyen, & Nizharadze, 2002). ...
Article
Full-text available
In future, changes in science and society will increasingly demand interdisciplinarily prepared professionals and researchers. Inter/transdisciplinarity has been worked on theoretically and scientifically examined. The review study shows how both approaches are explained, how they are put into the practice of doctoral studies, what the results are of the interdisciplinary approaches applied, but also their limits and barriers.
... Despite these positive associations between individualistic cultures and wellbeing when contrasted with collectivistic cultures, research on individualism and wellbeing conducted at the personal level of analyses provides a contrasting set of findings. Studies that have focused on how orientations towards individualism relate to wellbeing at the personal level (rather than across cultures) show individualistic values to be associated with higher levels of isolation [20], suicidal tendencies [21,22] and poorer psychological health [23]. As a means of gaining clarity on these seemingly conflicting findings between individualism and wellbeing that exist between the cultural versus personal level of analyses, a number of studies have broken the concepts down into differing sub-traits [23][24][25]. ...
Article
Full-text available
An increasing body of research suggests that young people living in Western societies are becoming increasingly individualistic in the way they orientate themselves socially, with further findings suggestive that such orientations may be associated with reduced wellbeing outcomes. Through a systematic review of past research, this paper examines the findings on individualism and the wellbeing of young people living within Western contexts. Findings from our review indicate that whilst individualistic cultures may be associated with higher wellbeing outcomes when compared with collectivistic cultures, such associations tend to disappear when explored at the personal level. Additionally, we find that distinguishing how individualism is measured provides important insight into specific traits associated with individualism that can lead to poorer wellbeing outcomes. Based on the studies reviewed, we propose that whilst the freedom and autonomy embedded within individualistic social orientations can have positive associations, there is an emerging understanding of some of the darker traits that can be associated with these values. These synthesized findings increase our understanding of the connection between individualism, its associated behaviours, and the mental health of young people.
... Some scholars have worried that the unlimited growth of individualism may be a threat to social trust and social solidarity (Allik & Realo, 2004). Individualism, at least its extreme forms, may be associated with crime, divorce, suicide, loneliness, emotional stress, and ill-being (Allik & Realo, 2004;Eskin, 2013;Ogihara, 2020). However, in recent years, the bright sides of individualism have been addressed by more and more researchers. ...
Article
Full-text available
Happiness is an important goal humans pursue. Previous studies found that generalized trust leads to greater well-being. To confirm the universality of previous findings, we conducted two studies using a sample of 69,578 participants from 48 countries to explore the relationship between different types of trust on well-being and the moderating effect of individualism on this relationship. In our Hierarchical Linear Models, all types of trust positively predicted well-being at the individual level, and the effects of trust on well-being were enhanced by country-level individualism. An explanation for this phenomenon is that social trust in collectivist societies mainly originates from conformity to social norms rather than personal preferences as in individualist societies. Findings of this study suggest that different types of social trust contribute to well-being in both individualist and collectivist societies. The well-being benefits of social trust can be enhanced if individuals have autonomy in determining the level of trust and the width of the trust circle.
... This research found that compared to more collectivistic societies, more individualistic societies had higher incomes, greater human rights, and greater social equality, all of which were associated with higher well-being (Oyserman et al., 2002). Nevertheless, research at the individual-level of analysis has found that individualism is negatively related to well-being defined in terms of isolation and loneliness (Scott et al., 2004), suicidal tendencies (Eckersley & Dear, 2002;Eskin, 2013), and narcissism (Twenge & Foster, 2008). Moreover, all of these studies examined young people or emerging adults. ...
Article
An increasing body of research suggests that emerging adults living in Western societies are becoming more individualistic and such increases in individualism are associated with reduced well-being. The present study examined relationships between well-being and individualism and collectivism among 1906 emerging adults in the US, aged 18-25. We measured individualism and collectivism distinguishing horizontal and vertical dimensions of these constructs, and we measured well-being in terms of depression, anxiety, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and neuroticism. Regression analyses found that individualism was negatively related to well-being, and these relationships varied somewhat between horizontal and vertical individualism. Horizontal collectivism was positively related to all measures of well-being, and vertical collectivism was positively related to three measures. These findings increase our understanding of the roles individualism and collectivism play in the psychological well-being of emerging adults, including the importance of distinguishing horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism.
... Memhet Eskin (2013) sought to identify how an individualist perspective would impact one's suicidal ideation and behavior as opposed to a collectivist perspective in the country of Turkey. Eskin's research identified higher rates of suicidal ideation and behaviors in Turks who were more individualist than those who were more collectivist. ...
Article
Full-text available
Religious beliefs and practices have historically been intertwined with stigmatizing attitudes and responses to suicide, including stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Understanding the relationship between religion and suicide stigma requires identifying specific religious beliefs and practices about suicide and how these are informed by broader worldviews, such as ethics, anthropology, and afterlife beliefs. Yet, research in this area has been complicated by the complex multidimensional nature of stigma and the diversity of religious beliefs and practices, even within religious traditions. Moreover, contrary arguments about the role of religious views of suicide in suicide prevention, specifically whether religious stigma is protective or instead contributes to risk, have obscured the interpretation of findings. This paper aims to advance research on this topic by first summarizing pertinent empirical findings and theoretical perspectives on public and personal stigma towards people with suicidal ideation (PWSI), people with suicidal behavior (PWSB), and suicide loss survivors (SLS). Secondly, a culturally nuanced action research framework (ARF) of religious stigma towards suicide is provided to guide future research. According to this ARF, research should advance strategically by investigating associations of religious beliefs and practices with stigmatization, identifying empowering resources within particular religious traditions, supporting suicide prevention efforts, and developing effective interventions to support PWSI, PWSB, and SLS. Moreover, such research efforts ought to equip religious leaders, and healthcare professionals working with religious individuals, to reduce stigma towards suicide and further the goal of suicide prevention.
Article
Full-text available
This study focused on the well-being of the survivors of suicide attempts and the well-being of their interpersonal relationships after the attempt. The data came from a sample of 392 college students from ten Muslim majority countries who reported having attempted suicide in the last four years. Suicide was conceptualized as a goal-directed behavior embedded in a sociocultural context and motivated by personal or interpersonal goals. We tested a process that linked culturally shaped self-construal to the post-suicidal personal and interpersonal well-being. We posited that this process would operate through the attitudes towards suicide, motives for suicide, the strength of the intention to die. Our model indicated that the acceptability of suicide was positively associated with escape motives, and this association was even stronger for the individuals with interdependent self-construals. Escape motives were negatively associated with post-suicidal personal and interpersonal well-being, but communication motives were not associated with these outcomes. We also found evidence that having an interdependent self-construal might be beneficial for post-suicidal personal and interpersonal well-being. Our results further suggested that the post-suicidal personal and interpersonal well-being of highly interdependent individuals may depend on the interpretation of their act of suicide by their close others.
Article
Full-text available
Are Americans more individualistic and less collectivistic than members of other groups? The authors summarize plausible psychological implications of individualism–collectivism (IND-COL), metaanalyze cross-national and within-United States IND-COL differences, and review evidence for effectsof IND-COL on self-concept, well-being, cognition, and relationality. European Americans were found to be both more individualistic—valuing personal independence more—and less collectivistic—feeling duty to in-groups less—than others. However, European Americans were not more individualistic than African Americans, or Latinos, and not less collectivistic than Japanese or Koreans. Among Asians, only Chinese showed large effects, being both less individualistic and more collectivistic. Moderate IND-COL effects were found on self-concept and relationality, and large effects were found on attribution and cognitive style.
Article
Full-text available
This article reports differences across 23 countries on 2 processes of emotion regulation––reappraisal and suppression. Cultural dimensions were correlated with country means on both and the relationship between them. Cultures that emphasized the maintenance of social order––that is, those that were long-term oriented and valued embeddedness and hierarchy––tended to have higher scores on suppres-sion, and reappraisal and suppression tended to be positively correlated. In contrast, cultures that minimized the maintenance of social order and valued individual Affective Autonomy and Egalitarianism tended to have lower scores on Suppression, and Reappraisal and Suppression tended to be negatively correlated. Moreover, country-level emotion regulation was significantly correlated with country-level indices of both positive and negative adjustment. The 37 coauthors of this article, in alphabetical order by last name, are as follows:
Article
Full-text available
Suicidal behavior and its variation across social contexts are of importance for the science of suicidology. Due to its special character controlled experimental studies on suicide are ruled out for ethical reasons. Cross-cultural studies may throw light on the etiology of both suicidal behavior and its cross-cultural variation. The present study compared suicidal behavior and attitudes in 423 Slovak and 541 Turkish high school students by means of a self-report questionnaire. The two groups reported similar percentages (Slovak = 36.4%; Turkish = 33.8%) of life-time, past 12-months or current suicidal ideation but significantly more Turkish (12.2%) than Slovak (4.8%) students reported life-time or past 12-months suicide attempts. Slovak adolescents displayed more liberal and permissive attitudes towards suicide, while those of Turkish adolescents were more rejecting. Turkish students rated themselves to be more religious and hence they believed to a greater extent that suicidal persons would be punished in a life after death than their Slovak peers. However, attitudes of Turkish students towards an imagined suicidal close friend were more accepting than the attitudes of Slovak students. Comparison of suicidal and nonsuicidal students revealed that those reporting suicidal ideation or attempts were more accepting of suicide and viewed suicide as a solution to a greater extent than the non suicidal ones. The results from this study suggest that cultural factors play a role in suicidal behavior, attitudes and reactions in a predicted direction.
Chapter
A theory of individualism and collectivism The evolution of individualism and collectivism theory and research is reviewed. The antecedents of collectivism–individualism can be found in the ecology, family structure, wealth distribution, demography, history, cultural diffusion, and situational conditions. The consequences of collectivism–individualism include differences in attention, attribution, cognition, emotion, motivation, self-definitions, values, language use, and communication, as well as other kinds of social and organizational behavior. Applications of individualism and collectivism include improvements in conflict resolution, health, international relations, and cross-cultural training. Culture is to society what memory is to individuals (Kluckhohn, 1954). It consists of what “has worked” in the experience of a group of people so it was worth transmitting to peers and descendents. Another definition of culture was provided by anthropologist Redfield (1941): “Culture is shared understandings made manifest in act and artifact.” In short, culture is shared behavior and shared human-made aspects of the society. Thus, ...
Article
A growing body of research has demonstrated important variations in the prevalence, nature, and correlates of suicide across ethnic and sexual minority groups. Despite these developments, existing clinical and research approaches to suicide assessment and prevention have not incorporated cultural variations in any systematic way. In addition, theoretical models of suicide have been largely devoid of cultural influence. The current report presents a comprehensive analysis of literature describing the relationship between cultural factors and suicide in three major ethnic groups (African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos) and LGBTQ1 sexual minority groups. We utilized an inductive approach to synthesize this variegated body of research into four factors that account for 95% of existing culturally specific risk data: cultural sanctions, idioms of distress, minority stress, and social discord. These four cultural factors are then integrated into a theoretical framework: the Cultural Model of Suicide. Three theoretical principles emerge: (1) culture affects the types of stressors that lead to suicide; (2) cultural meanings associated with stressors and suicide affect the development of suicidal tendencies, one's threshold of tolerance for psychological pain, and subsequent suicidal acts; and (3) culture affects how suicidal thoughts, intent, plans, and attempts are expressed. The Cultural Model of Suicide provides an empirically guided cohesive approach that can inform culturally competent suicide assessment and prevention efforts in future research and clinical practice. Including both ethnic and sexual minorities in our investigations ensures advancement along a multiple identities perspective.