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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
 
BMC Psychiatry. 2012; 12: 28.
Published online Mar 31, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-12-28
PMCID: PMC3359217
Suicidal expressions among young people in Nicaragua and Cambodia: a cross-cultural study
Claudia Obando Medina,1 Bhoomikumar Jegannathan,2 Kjerstin Dahlblom,3 and Gunnar Kullgrencorresponding author4
1Centre for Demography and Health Research, Nicaraguan National Autonomous University, León, Nicaragua
2Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CCAMH), Takhmau, Cambodia
3Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Division of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden
4Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Claudia Obando Medina: oclamedina/at/gmail.com; Bhoomikumar Jegannathan: bhoomikumarj/at/gmail.com; Kjerstin Dahlblom: kjerstin.dahlblom/at/epiph.umu.se; Gunnar Kullgren: gunnar.kullgren/at/psychiat.umu.se
Received September 7, 2011; Accepted March 31, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Whereas prevalence of suicidal expressions among young people is fairly similar in different countries, less is known about associated risk factors. This study compares young people in Nicaragua and Cambodia to examine if the pattern of association between mental health problems and suicidal expressions differs.
Methods
368 and 316 secondary school students, from each country respectively, participated. Self-reported suicidal expressions, exposure to suicidal behavior in significant others and mental health problems among the students were measured using Attitude Towards Suicide (ATTS) and the Youth Self-Report (YSR) questionnaires.
Results
Prevalence of serious suicidal expressions (plans and attempts) during recent year, did not differ between countries. Cambodian young people scored significantly higher on all eight YSR-syndromes, except for withdrawn/depressed. In Nicaragua, all YSR-syndromes were significantly associated with serious suicidal expressions in both genders compared to Cambodia where only one syndrome showed an association in each gender; Withdrawn/depressed among girls and Somatic complaints among boys. Associations between being exposed to suicide among significant others and serious suicidal expressions also differed between Cambodia and Nicaragua.
Conclusions
While the magnitude of serious suicidal expressions is similar between these structurally similar but culturally different countries, determinants behave differently. Qualitative studies are warranted to further explore cultural specific determinants for suicidal expressions among young people.
Keywords: Suicidal expressions, Adolescents, Young People Cross-cultural comparison, Nicaragua and Cambodia
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