write a paper of 750-1,000 words on anxiety disorders in which you address the following questions:
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUICIDE ABOUND (Shneidman, Farberow, & Leonard, 1961; Shneidman & Mandelkorn, 1970), and in recent years there has been great concern about them. For example, people who generally believe the myth that those who talk about suicide will not commit suicide may well ignore potentially suicidal people whom they could have helped. Educating the public about the facts and myths about suicide has been identified as a key to prevention since the early days of suicide prevention efforts (Shneidman et al., 196 1; Shneidman & Mandelkom, 1970).
Research (Durocher, Leenaars, & Balance, 1989; Leenaars, Balance, Pellarin, Aversano, Magli, & Wenckstern, 1988; Leenaars, Saunders, Balance, Wenckstern, & Galgan, 1991; McIntosh, Hubbard, & Santos, 1985) has indicated that people’s knowledge about suicide facts and myths may well be more extensive than previously assumed. To date, there are no cross-cultural data about facts and myths. The present study was an investigation of the level of knowledge of U.S. and Canadian students, not only for practical considerations such as availability and common language but also on the assumption that the knowledge would show a fair degree of similarity.
In the late 1980s, convenience samples were recruited in both countries. The total Canadian sample consisted of 253 men and 472 women (mean age, 20.7 years) enrolled in an introductory psychology course in a Canadian university; the American sample consisted of 123 men and 170 women (mean age, 19.7 years) enrolled in an introductory course in an American college. The likely reason for the I -year age difference in the sample is that American students go to college I year earlier than their Canadian counterparts.
We used a knowledge questionnaire, consisting of 16 randomized true-or-false statements, that was developed by Leenaars et al. (1988) from Shneidman’s clinically formulated facts and myths. Subjects completed the questionnaire and were subsequently debriefed.
Overall, there was little difference in the levels of correct knowledge 82.8% for the Canadian students and 81.8% for the U.S. students. The Canadian students showed more correct knowledge on seven items (significantly so on two of the items); the Americans, on nine items (significantly so on one of the items). By using a two-tailed Z test between proportions, we found that Canadian students more frequently correctly identified as facts the statements that “individuals who wish to kill themselves are suicidal only for a limited period of time” (34.9% versus 2 1.0%, p < .01) and “suicide does not run in families; it is an individual pattern” (86.3% versus 73.0%, p < .01). On the other hand, U.S. students more frequently correctly identified as a myth the statement that “improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the suicidal risk is over” (97.6% versus 94.9%, p < .05).
The present study, therefore, revealed little difference between these Canadian and U.S. students in their overall accurate knowledge about suicide. This is important because we (1992) have shown that the rate of suicide is higher in Canada than in the United States. The results suggest that it is unlikely that the few specific differences in knowledge underlie the differences in the suicide rates in Canada and the United States.
The present study also may indicate that facts about suicide, at least in the students that we tested, are replacing fables. Whether these observations can be generalized to nonstudents needs further exploration in future research.
Address correspondence to Antoon A. Leenaars,XXXXX Suite 806, Windsor, Ontario, Canada N9A 1C7.
Durocher, G., Leenaars, A. A., & Balance, W. (1989). Knowledge about suicide as a function of experience. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 68, 26.
Leenaars, A. A., Balance, W. D., Pellarin, S., Aversano, G., Magli, A., & Wenckstern, S. (1988). Facts and myths of suicide in Canada. Death Studies, 12, 195206.
Leenaars, A. A., & Lester, D. (1992). A comparison of rates and patterns of suicide in Canada and the United States, 1960-1988. Death Studies, 16, 417-430.
Leenaars, A., Saunders, M., Balance, W., Wenckstern, S., & Galgan, R. (1991). Knowledge about facts and myths of suicide in the elderly. Gerontology and Geriatrics Education, 12, 61-68.
McIntosh, J.. Hubbard, R., & Santos, J. (1985). Suicide facts and myths: A study of prevalence. Death Studies, 8, 267-281.
Shneidman, E. S., Farberow, N., & Leonard, C. V. (1961). Some facts about suicide: Causes and prevention. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. (Public Health Service Publication #1852).