1 Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Koç University, Rumelifeneri Yolu, 34450 Sariyer, Istanbul, Turkey
Suicidal behavior is a serious public health problem worldwide and shows large intersocietal variation. This study aimed at comparatively investigating the aspects of suicidal behavior in 22 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
The study was conducted with official data retrieved from several sources. The suicidal mortality data were collected from World Health Organization’s data repository. Descriptive statistics, group comparison, correlational and regression statistical analyses were used to summarize the data.
The average age standardized suicide rates in the Mediterranean countries are lower than the world average. Except in Morocco, more men kill themselves than women. Suicide rates are lower in Mediterranean Muslim than in Mediterranean Christian countries. Slovenia, France and Croatia have the highest suicide mortality rates. Greatest percentages of suicidal ideation are seen in Croatia, Turkey and Slovenia and the greatest percentages of suicidal attempts are seen in Palestine, Cyprus, Greece and Slovenia. According to the results of the multiple regression analyses, the coefficient of human inequality index was associated with lower both-sex and male suicide rates. Greater percentages of people saying religion is unimportant in daily life in a country were found to be related to higher female suicide rates.
The findings from the study have shown that the prevalence of suicidal deaths, thoughts and attempts vary between the Mediterranean countries. Lower suicide rates are observed in the Muslim Mediterranean nations than in the Judeo-Christian ones. However, the rates of suicide mortality in non-Arab Muslim nations being comparable to the rates in non-Muslim countries confirm the concerns over mis/underreporting of suicidal behavior in Arab Muslim countries due to religio-cultural stigma attached to suicide. The average suicidal mortality rates are lower in Mediterranean countries than the world average. Generally, more men than women kill themselves. Results from the multivariate analysis revealed that as the level of human inequality increases the rates for both-sex and male suicidal mortality decreases. Religion seem to be protective against female suicides. The study has also shown that more research is needed about suicidal behavior in the Mediterranean countries.
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