Building Models for the Relationship Between Attitudes Toward Suicide and Suicidal Behavior: Based on Data from General Population Surveys in Sweden, Norway, and Russia

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Abstract

Our aim was to build a model delineating the relationship between attitudes toward suicide and suicidal behavior and to assess equivalence by applying the model on data from different countries. Representative samples from the general population were approached in Sweden, Norway, and Russia with the Attitudes Toward Suicide (ATTS) questionnaire. Data on experience of suicidal behavior among significant others and self-reported suicidal expressions were also collected. Structural equation modeling resulted in gender and country specific models where experience of suicidal behavior among significant others and self-reported suicidal expressions earlier in life predicted attitudes, and attitudes predicted current suicidal expressions. The models included the attitude factors acceptance of suicide, condemnation, and preventability; age and level of education were also incorporated. The different models reveal possible ways to better understand gender and culture-specific paths between attitudes and suicidal behaviors, and their relevance in a suicide prevention context is considered.

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