Title

Suicidal thoughts, attempts and motives among university students in 12 Muslim-majority countries

Document Type

Article

Department

Psychiatry

Abstract

There is a scarcity of research on suicidal phenomena in the Muslim world. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the self-reported prevalence of suicidal thoughts, attempts and motives in 12 Muslim countries. A total of 8417 (54.4% women) university students were surveyed by means of a self-report questionnaire. Overall, 22% of the participants reported suicidal ideation and 8.6% reported attempting suicide. The odds of suicidal thoughts were elevated in Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, while reduced ORs were recorded in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Malaysia. While odds of suicide attempts were high in Azerbaijan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia reduced odds ratios (OR) were detected in Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Tunisia. Taking drugs and using a sharp instrument were the two most frequently used methods to attempt suicide. Only 32.7% of attempts required medical attention. Escape motives were endorsed more than social motives by participants who attempted suicide. Suicidal behaviors were more frequent in women than in men. Compered to men, fewer attempts by women required medical attention. Moreover, our results show that making suicide illegal does not reduce the frequency of suicidal behavior. Results from this comparative study show that suicidal thoughts and attempts are frequent events in young adults in countries where religious scripture explicitly prohibit suicide and the frequencies of nonfatal suicidal behavior show large variation in nations adhering to the same religion.

Publication

Psychiatric Quarterly

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