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INTRODUCTION: The objective of present paper is to outline the methodology of the International Study of Definitions of English-Language Terms for Suicidal Behaviours (ISDELTSB). The aim of the study is to survey existing English language terms and definitions used around the world for suicidal behaviour. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The ISDELTSB is a worldwide survey based on one 'designated expert' per each WHO-registered country. 'Experts' were contacted through the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), the World Psychiatric Association and the World Organization of Family Doctors. Each individual was sent an invitation to participate and a link to an online questionnaire. A comparison sample was created by inviting all IASP members to respond to the questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed to assess respondents' preferences about a particular set of terms and definitions by using the four major criteria of the definition of suicide identified in the literature (outcome, intent, knowledge and agency). The questionnaire used a multiple-choice question format. Participants were asked to choose one term in the list for each of the proposed definitions. Statements and definitions in the questionnaire were elaborated using the four main features of the definition of suicide, starting by the definitions and terms for which there is already a certain degree of consensus and then progressing to definitions and terms less agreed on. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study protocol obtained approval of Griffith University's Ethics Committee (ethics reference number 2017/601) and in accordance with the Australian National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Respondents are asked if they accept to be personally acknowledged in any output originating from this study, and if so to provide their full name, title and affiliations. If respondents do not accept, they are informed that the conduct of this research respects Griffith University's Privacy Plan and that identified personal information is confidential and that anonymity will at all times be safeguarded. As detailed in the questionnaire cover letter, by answering the online or paper version of the questionnaire, respondents express their consent to participate. Dissemination of results will be done through a peer-reviewed journal article publication. This study aims to map the international use of definitions and terms for suicidal behaviour and ideation and favour the future use of an internationally shared set of terms and definitions. This will hopefully avoid undue duplication of efforts and reliably permit meta-analysis of data produced in different countries.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





definitions, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicide, terms, Consensus, Humans, Internationality, Language, Suicidal Ideation, Suicide, Terminology as Topic