Suicide Stigma and Suicide Literacy in a Clinical Sample

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Abstract

Objective

The aims of this study were to (1) investigate levels and correlates of suicide stigma and suicide literacy in a sample of individuals attending a tertiary depression clinic in Australia (N = 287), with comparison to a community-based Australian sample (N = 1,410), and (2) validate measures of suicide stigma and literacy in a clinical sample.

Method

Australian adults (N = 287) aged 18–78 years referred by their general practitioners for assessment at a psychiatric clinic for patients with difficult-to-treat mood disorders were recruited to complete a survey, including measures of suicide literacy, suicide stigma, mental health symptoms, and demographics.

Results

Compared to the Australian community sample, participants in the clinical sample reported lower suicide literacy, lower suicide stigma, greater glorification of suicide, and greater attribution of suicide to isolation. Suicide ideation was associated with greater glorification of suicide. Females had higher suicide literacy and lower suicide stigma than males. The psychometric properties of the suicide stigma measure appeared to be robust and consistent with previous evaluations.

Conclusion

Given the low levels of suicide literacy in this clinical sample, suicide prevention initiatives designed for community settings may also be important in clinical settings.

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