Therapeutic and nontherapeutic reactions in a group of nurses and doctors in Turkey to patients who have attempted suicide

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Fatma Demirkiran
Mehmet Eskin
Cite this article:  Demirkiran, F., & Eskin, M. (2006). Therapeutic and nontherapeutic reactions in a group of nurses and doctors in Turkey to patients who have attempted suicide. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34(8), 891-906.


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In this study a questionnaire was used to investigate the predictors of therapeutic versus nontherapeutic reactions to patients hospitalized for attempting suicide in a group of doctors (n = 158) and in a group of nurses (n = 206) working in the health care system of a small city in the Western part of Turkey. Doctors said that they would react therapeutically towards patients hospitalized for attempting suicide to a greater extent than did nurses, while nurses said that they would engage in nontherapeutic reactions to a greater extent than doctors did. Believing that suicidal problems should be communicated, feeling sympathy for a suicidal patient and not feeling anxiety/fear for a suicidal patient were found to be the independent predictors of therapeutic reactions, while feeling anger about a suicidal patient emerged as an independent predictor of nontherapeutic reactions in both doctors and nurses. The attitudes of nurses towards suicide were more traditional than the attitudes of doctors. Nurses believed to a greater extent than doctors that suicidal people would be punished after death and that suicide in one's family was to be hidden. Doctors, on the other hand, believed to a greater extent than nurses that suicide attempts resulted from illness/biological reasons. Men were found to be more prejudiced about suicide and suicidal individuals than were women.

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