Background: Few studies have investigated suicidal behavior and attitudes of medical students. We are not aware of any previous reports emerging from the Arab world. Aims: To investigate suicidal behavior and attitudes among medical students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Method: The prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts as well as attitudes toward suicide and reactions to a hypothetical suicidal friend were assessed using a self-report survey. Furthermore, the survey included the self-assessment of the current mood and religiosity, and socio-demographic information. Results: A group of 115 medical students (mean age 20.7 years, 59.1% female) participated in the survey. The prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation was 17.5% and of suicide attempts 1.8%. In general, students showed very low acceptability of suicide, strong beliefs in the punishment after death, and highly endorsed communicating problems with parents. Moreover, high acceptance of and support for a suicidal friend were found. Sadness was associated with higher acceptability of suicide and fewer beliefs in punishment after death. Religiosity was associated with less acceptability of suicide, seeing suicide in context of mental illness, communicating problems with parents, and greater support for a suicidal friend. Conclusions: The prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts among medical students in the UAE was in the lower range in international comparison. Negative attitudes toward suicide were accompanied by a strong support for a suicidal friend, and both were related to religiosity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health