Suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students: A 12-nation study

Mehmet Eskin, Jian Min Sun, Jamila Abuidhail, Kouichi Yoshimasu, Omar Kujan, Mohsen Janghorbani, Chris Flood, Mauro Giovanni Carta, Ulrich S. Tran, Anwar Mechri, Motasem Hamdan, Senel Poyrazli, Khouala Aidoudi, Seifollah Bakhshi, Hacer Harlak, Maria Francesca Moro, Hani Nawafleh, Louise Phillips, Amira Shaheen, Shahama TaifourKanami Tsuno, Martin Voracek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the prevalence of suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students across 12 nations. A total of 5,572 university students from 12 countries were surveyed about suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and psychological distress by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Almost 29% of the samples reported having contemplated suicide and 7% reported attempting suicide. Of the total sample, 51.1% scored above the General Health Questionnaire-12≥3 cut-off points, 41.6% above the GHQ-12≥4 cut-off points, and 33.8% scored above the GHQ-12≥5 cut-off points. While odds of suicide ideation were elevated in Austria and the UK, reduced ORs were detected for China, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Similarly, while odds of suicide attempt were high in Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and to some extent in Turkey, reduced ORs were observed for Austria, China, Italy, Japan and the United States. Elevated ORs for psychological distress were seen in Japan, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey but reduced ORs were noted in Austria, China, Iran, Italy, and the United States. Psychological distress was strongly associated with reports of suicide ideation and attempts. Suicide ideation, suicide attempt, and psychological distress are common in university students but their rates vary depending on the sociocultural context. Due attention should be devoted to the mental health needs of young adults enrolled in higher educational institutions and more cross-cultural research is warranted to better understand the etiology of the observed intersocietal variations in suicidal behavior and psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-388
Number of pages20
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016

Fingerprint

compound A 12
Suicide
Students
Psychology
Saudi Arabia
Austria
Turkey
Italy
China
Tunisia
Jordan
Japan
Iran
Young Adult
Mental Health
Cross-Sectional Studies
Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Eskin, M., Sun, J. M., Abuidhail, J., Yoshimasu, K., Kujan, O., Janghorbani, M., ... Voracek, M. (2016). Suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students: A 12-nation study. Archives of Suicide Research, 20(3), 369-388. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2015.1054055
Eskin, Mehmet ; Sun, Jian Min ; Abuidhail, Jamila ; Yoshimasu, Kouichi ; Kujan, Omar ; Janghorbani, Mohsen ; Flood, Chris ; Carta, Mauro Giovanni ; Tran, Ulrich S. ; Mechri, Anwar ; Hamdan, Motasem ; Poyrazli, Senel ; Aidoudi, Khouala ; Bakhshi, Seifollah ; Harlak, Hacer ; Moro, Maria Francesca ; Nawafleh, Hani ; Phillips, Louise ; Shaheen, Amira ; Taifour, Shahama ; Tsuno, Kanami ; Voracek, Martin. / Suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students : A 12-nation study. In: Archives of Suicide Research. 2016 ; Vol. 20, No. 3. pp. 369-388.
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Eskin, M, Sun, JM, Abuidhail, J, Yoshimasu, K, Kujan, O, Janghorbani, M, Flood, C, Carta, MG, Tran, US, Mechri, A, Hamdan, M, Poyrazli, S, Aidoudi, K, Bakhshi, S, Harlak, H, Moro, MF, Nawafleh, H, Phillips, L, Shaheen, A, Taifour, S, Tsuno, K & Voracek, M 2016, 'Suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students: A 12-nation study', Archives of Suicide Research, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 369-388. https://doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2015.1054055

Suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students : A 12-nation study. / Eskin, Mehmet; Sun, Jian Min; Abuidhail, Jamila; Yoshimasu, Kouichi; Kujan, Omar; Janghorbani, Mohsen; Flood, Chris; Carta, Mauro Giovanni; Tran, Ulrich S.; Mechri, Anwar; Hamdan, Motasem; Poyrazli, Senel; Aidoudi, Khouala; Bakhshi, Seifollah; Harlak, Hacer; Moro, Maria Francesca; Nawafleh, Hani; Phillips, Louise; Shaheen, Amira; Taifour, Shahama; Tsuno, Kanami; Voracek, Martin.

In: Archives of Suicide Research, Vol. 20, No. 3, 02.07.2016, p. 369-388.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Abuidhail, Jamila

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AU - Kujan, Omar

AU - Janghorbani, Mohsen

AU - Flood, Chris

AU - Carta, Mauro Giovanni

AU - Tran, Ulrich S.

AU - Mechri, Anwar

AU - Hamdan, Motasem

AU - Poyrazli, Senel

AU - Aidoudi, Khouala

AU - Bakhshi, Seifollah

AU - Harlak, Hacer

AU - Moro, Maria Francesca

AU - Nawafleh, Hani

AU - Phillips, Louise

AU - Shaheen, Amira

AU - Taifour, Shahama

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AU - Voracek, Martin

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N2 - This study investigated the prevalence of suicidal behavior and psychological distress in university students across 12 nations. A total of 5,572 university students from 12 countries were surveyed about suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and psychological distress by means of a self-administered questionnaire. Almost 29% of the samples reported having contemplated suicide and 7% reported attempting suicide. Of the total sample, 51.1% scored above the General Health Questionnaire-12≥3 cut-off points, 41.6% above the GHQ-12≥4 cut-off points, and 33.8% scored above the GHQ-12≥5 cut-off points. While odds of suicide ideation were elevated in Austria and the UK, reduced ORs were detected for China, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Similarly, while odds of suicide attempt were high in Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and to some extent in Turkey, reduced ORs were observed for Austria, China, Italy, Japan and the United States. Elevated ORs for psychological distress were seen in Japan, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey but reduced ORs were noted in Austria, China, Iran, Italy, and the United States. Psychological distress was strongly associated with reports of suicide ideation and attempts. Suicide ideation, suicide attempt, and psychological distress are common in university students but their rates vary depending on the sociocultural context. Due attention should be devoted to the mental health needs of young adults enrolled in higher educational institutions and more cross-cultural research is warranted to better understand the etiology of the observed intersocietal variations in suicidal behavior and psychological distress.

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