Attitudes concerning the acceptability of suicide have been emphasized as being important for understanding why levels of suicide mortality vary in different societies across the world. While Russian suicide mortality levels are among the highest in the world, not much is known about attitudes to suicide in Russia. This study aims to obtain a greater understanding about the levels and correlates of suicide acceptance in Russia.
Data from a survey of 1,190 Muscovites were analysed using logistic regression techniques. Suicide acceptance was examined among respondents in relation to social, economic and demographic factors as well as in relation to attitudes towards other moral questions.
The majority of interviewees (80%) expressed condemnatory attitudes towards suicide, although men were slightly less condemning. The young, the higher educated, and the non-religious were more accepting of suicide (OR > 2). However, the two first-mentioned effects disappeared when controlling for tolerance, while a positive effect of lower education on suicide acceptance appeared. When controlling for other independent variables, no significant effects were found on suicide attitudes by gender, one's current family situation, or by health-related or economic problems.
The most important determinants of the respondents' attitudes towards suicide were their tolerance regarding other moral questions and their religiosity. More tolerant views, in general, also seemed to explain the more accepting views towards suicide among the young and the higher educated. Differences in suicide attitudes between the sexes seemed to be dependent on differences in other factors rather than on gender per se. Suicide attitudes also seemed to be more affected by one's earlier experiences in terms of upbringing and socialization than by events and processes later in life.