Stigmatizing attitudes toward suicide: conformity in online chatting room


  • S. An
  • H. Lee


The purpose of this study is to see how and to what extent individuals’ social capital is associated with their views on suicide and what role suicide literacy can online settings. We set up a vignette experiment to see under what conditions people are more likely to defer to group’s stigmatizing attitudes toward suicidal people. The vignette experiment illustrates that those with high desire to maintain social relationships are more inclined to follow the dominant view imposed in a group. By contrast, in terms of interpersonal trust, high trust in people was associated with lower levels of suicide stigma. More importantly, suicide literacy moderated the effect of trust on suicide stigma. Among those with high suicide literacy, interpersonal trust did not make a difference in terms of conformity to stigmatizing attitudes. When people were knowledgeable on the causes and treatments for suicidal ideation, they were more likely to express their view, opposing the majority’s stigmatizing attitudes, even if they had low levels of interpersonal trust. The current study shows two sides of social capital by either perpetuating or reducing stigmatizing attitudes. Also, the potential of suicide literacy directs us to pay more attention to better understand beliefs and attitudes involving suicides for suicide prevention.





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