Suicide in Different Cultures: A Thematic Comparison of Suicide Notes From Turkey and the United States

Leenaars A. A. , Sayin A., CANDANSAYAR S., Leenaars L., AKAR T., DEMİREL B.

JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.41, no.2, pp.253-263, 2010 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0022022109354640
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.253-263


Suicide is a global concern, hence, cross-cultural research ought to be central; yet, there is a paucity of cross-cultural study in suicidology. A thematic or theoretical-conceptual analysis of 60 suicide notes drawn from Turkey and the United States, matched for age and sex, was undertaken, based on Leenaars's empirical-based multidimensional model of suicide. The results suggested that there were more culturally common factors than specific differences; yet, not consistent with previous cross-cultural studies of suicide notes, differences emerged in Turkey notes expressing more indirect and veiled communications (indirect expressions). Specifically, Turkish notes expressed that there may be more reasons to the act than the person writes. It was concluded that the model may be applicable to suicide in both countries, but also much greater cross-cultural study is warranted on specific cultural risk factors. A question raised is whether the findings are related to collectivism versus individualism.