Cultural and interpersonal risk factors for suicide ideation and suicide attempts among Muslim college students from 11 nations

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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 7427 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.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Affective Disorders