A cross-cultural investigation of the communication of suicidal intent in Swedish and Turkish adolescents

Scand J Psychol. 2003 Feb;44(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/1467-9450.t01-1-00314.


A recent study found that Swedish adolescents were more disapproving of a suicidal disclosure by a fictional friend than their Turkish counterparts. Given this finding, the present study investigated whether or not more adolescents in Turkey than in Sweden disclose their own suicidal thoughts to someone, to whom adolescents disclose their suicidal thoughts, what reactions such disclosures produce, and reasons for not disclosing suicidal feelings among 966 Swedish and 956 Turkish high school students. A questionnaire was used to collect information about different aspects of suicidal disclosures. More Turkish than Swedish adolescent suicide ideators disclosed their thoughts. More Turkish than Swedish students believed also that young people thinking about and planning suicide tell others of their plans and thereby ask for help. An overwhelming majority of adolescents in both groups revealed their thoughts to peers. The social reactions to suicidal disclosures in both samples were mainly positive. The two most common reasons for not disclosing in both groups involved interpersonal hopelessness. Adolescents who disclosed their past suicidal thoughts to someone reported having lower current suicidal ideation than those who had not. In line with favorable social attitudes towards suicidal disclosures and lower suicidal mortality rates in Turkey compared with Sweden, more Turkish than Swedish adolescents reported having disclosed their own suicidal thoughts to someone in their social milieu.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Death
  • Communication*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Social Support
  • Students / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Turkey