Attitudes Towards Suicide

A. Contact with the suicide problem
Initially there are some questions about your experiences of suicide problems in your closest surroundings. Please mark with a cross the appropriate alternative. (Items are scored never‚ some time‚ often and not applicable).
1. Has any of the following persons (separate items for father/mother‚ brother/sister‚ child‚ partner‚ other relatives‚ friends‚ work-/schoolmates‚ others)
a) – made a suicide attempt
b) – expressed suicidal thoughts‚ plans or treats
2. Is there at this very moment any person in your closest surrounding that you know has suicidal thoughts? (Similar alternatives‚ items scored no‚ yes and not applicable)
3. Has any of the following persons committed suicide? (similar alternatives‚ items scored no‚ yes and not applicable)
B. Attitudes
The following questions concern your opinion about suicide. Please mark with a cross the alternative that you find is in best accordance with your opinion. There are no rights or wrong answers!
(Items are scored on the following scale: strongly agree‚ agree‚ undecided‚ disagree‚ strongly disagree)
4. It is always possible to help a person having suicidal thoughts.
5. Suicide can never be justified.
6. Committing suicide is among the worst thing to do to ones relatives.
7. Most suicide attempts are impulsive actions.
8. Suicide is an acceptable means to terminate an incurable disease.
9. Once a person has made up his/her mind about committing suicide no one can stop him/her
10. Many suicide attempts are made because of revenge or to punish someone else.
11. People who commit suicide are usually mentally ill.
12. It is a human duty to try to stop someone from committing suicide.
13. When a person commits suicide‚ it is something that he/she has considered for a long time.
14. There is a risk of evoking suicidal thoughts in a person’s mind if you ask about it.
15. People who make suicidal threats seldom complete suicide.
16. Suicide is a subject that one should rather not talk about.
17. Loneliness could for me be a reason to take my life.
18. Almost everyone has at one time or another thought about suicide.
19. There may be situations where the only reasonable resolution is suicide.
20. I could say that I would take my life without actually meaning to do so.
21. Suicide can sometimes be a relief for those involved.
22. Suicides among young people are particularly puzzling since they have everything to live for.
23. I would consider the possibility of taking my life if I were to suffer from a severe‚ incurable‚ disease.
24. A person once they have suicidal thoughts will never let them go.
25. Suicide happens without warning.
26. Most people avoid talking about suicide.
27. If someone wants to commit suicide‚ it is his or her business and we should not interfere.
28. It is mainly loneliness that drives people to suicide.
29. A suicide attempt is essentially a cry for help.
30. On the whole‚ I do not understand how people can take their lives.
31. Usually relatives have no idea about what is going on when a person is thinking of suicide.
32. A person suffering from a severe‚ incurable‚ disease expressing wishes to die should get help to do so.
33. I am prepared to help a person in a suicidal crisis by making contact.
34. Anybody can commit suicide.
35. I can understand that people suffering from a severe‚ incurable‚ disease commit suicide.
36. People who talk about suicide do not commit suicide.
37. People do have the right to take their own lives.
38. Most suicide attempts are caused by conflicts with a close person.
39. I would like to get help to commit suicide if I were to suffer from a severe‚ incurable disease.
40. Suicide can be prevented.
41. Gender
42. Age
43. Education (-9 years‚ 10-12 years‚ 13 years or longer)
44. Have you ever made an attempt to take your own life? Last year and earlier in life on a yes‚ no scale‚ followed by number of attempts
The “Attitudes Towards Suicide” (ATTS) questionnaire was developed to attempt to measure attitudes towards suicide in longitudinal large-scale surveys in the general population in Sweden in 1986 and 1996. Psychometric properties of the instrument have been reported in a previous paper (Renberg & Jacobsson‚ 2003).
The instrument consists of three main sections: first‚ contact with suicidal problems (ideation‚ threats‚ attempted and completed suicide) among significant others; second‚ attitudes covering multidimensional attitude areas (37 items); and third‚ own life satisfaction and suicidal behaviour.
The questionnaire includes some questions on suicidal behaviour as presented by Paykel and colleagues in a previous paper (Paykel E et al.‚ 1974).
In the present study‚ a brief version of the instrument ATTS was used; among self-reported suicidal behaviour only items on a suicide attempt during previous year was used and among attitudes only a core set of attitude items in the form of statements were used. Attitude statements were scored by respondents on a scale from 1= Strongly disagree to 5= Strongly agree.