Cross cultural differences in perception and attribution of self-inflicted death, and how that relates to grief.
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The study examined differences in the attitudes towards suicide death, in terms of stigma and suicide bereavement experience between individuals in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Based on existing literature, it was hypothesized that: the attitudes towards suicide bereaved individuals and grief reaction, differ in individualistic and collectivistic cultures in terms of stigma and feelings of blame. For suicide bereaved people the levels of stigma and blame would be higher in collectivistic cultures, than in those considered to be more individualistic. That expectation was set, as in collectivistic cultures the social connectedness and the conformity to norms are highly valued in contrast with individualistic, where there is more tolerance to deviation from the norms. Thus, that deviation can arise to stigma. N=444 participants were recruited from seven different countries (Serbia, Greece, Lebanon, The Netherlands, United states, Germany and Turkey), who had not experience the loss of a significant other the last five years. The results showed higher level of stigma in the collectivistic cultures than in those considered to be more individualistic, opposite to our expectations. No differences in the levels of blame were found. Potential explanations concerning the results are discussed, as well as the limitations that might have influenced our findings. Future research would contribute to a better understanding of the stigma in suicide bereavement experience in the various cultures, as well as to effective ways of support towards people bereaved by suicide.