Suicide rates among Turkish and American youth: A cross-cultural comparison.
Coskun,Murat~~Zoroglu, Salih~~Ghaziuddin, Neera
This study compares youth (<24 years) suicide rates in Turkey and the United States; a demographic and cross-cultural comparison and exploration of possible causative factors. Publicly available data were compared for children, adolescents, and young adults for years 1992Ð2004. The mean general population suicide rate in Turkey (per 100,000) was, male = 3.53 and female = 2.31 (for the US, males = 18.37, females = 4.31); for ages below 15 years the rate was, males = 0.28 and females = 0.39 (for the US, males = 1.09 and females = 0.38); while for aged 15Ð24 years the rate was, males = 4.58 and females = 5.22 (for the US, males = 18.84 and females = 3.36). The patterns for Turkey are: (a) Female youth had a higher suicide rate than male youth; this was the reverse of the U.S. pattern, (b) Youth suicide increased during the time period in Turkey, whereas it was relatively stable in the US, (c) However, suicide rates in Turkey were generally lower than the US, (d) Fifty percent of all female suicide victims in Turkey were under the age of 24 years (versus 11% in the US). Possible psychosocial causative factors may include (a) negative social status of females (forced marriage, young marriage age, low literacy, honor killings); (b) substantial rural to urban migration which disrupts ties and exposes migrants to a less traditional cultural system; (c) shortage of mental health services; (d) and possibly, reduced religious education enrollment may be an additional factor.