PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS RELATED TO SUICIDAL IDEATION AMONG STUDENTS IN A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN OGUN STATE, NIGERIA

PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS RELATED TO SUICIDAL IDEATION AMONG STUDENTS IN A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN OGUN STATE, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Suicidal behaviour among adolescents is a prevalent issue in almost every part of the globe. Suicidal ideation being a significant primordial behavior to suicide attempts and completion should therefore be the point of intervention for any public health action to be effective. This study aimed to assess psychosocial factors as they relate to suicidal ideation among undergraduate university students.

The study adopted the cross-sectional research design. Multistage sampling technique was used to select 426 undergraduates of Babcock university, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun state, Nigeria. Validated instrument was used to measure psychosocial constructs of optimism on an 18-point rating scale, perceived social support on an 18-point rating scale, general self-efficacy on a 15-point rating scale, self-esteem on a 15-point rating scale as independent variables, while suicidal ideation, the dependent variable was measured on a 27-point rating scale. Data collected was analyzed and expressed as frequency distributions of responses, summaries of descriptive statistics of means and standard deviation and inferential statistics of Pearson’s correlation and regression analysis was used to characterize cause-effect relationships between independent and dependent variables.

The mean age of respondents was 19.32±2.22, 36.8% of respondents were males, 62.3% were females. Among respondents, the mean score of the independent variables show optimism was 12.36±2.79, perceived social support was 12.16±3.07, general self-efficacy was 10.71±2.42 and self-esteem was 9.58±2.95.Findings show that suicidal ideation had a mean score of 3.11±4.93 among respondents on a 27-point rating scale, however about 37.3% of them claimed to have thought about suicide in recent times. The result of Pearson’s bivariate correlation analysis showed negative relationships between psychosocial factors and suicidal ideation and that they were statistically significant (p-value<0.01) excluding general self-efficacy whose p-value was greater than 0.05 (p-value> 0.05). Self-esteem was the most correlated variable to suicidal ideation among respondents (r = -0.321). Lower levels of self-esteem depicted higher levels of suicidal ideation among respondents. Optimism was also significantly related (r = -0.286) to suicidal ideation and may serve as a protective factor against suicidal ideation among respondents. Perceived social support gave a significant inverse relationship Pearson’s correlation value (r = -0.220) to suicidal ideation and may infer social support as a protective factor against suicidal ideation.

In conclusion, this study shows that suicidal ideation although very low, is prevalent among the students of the study population and the identified psychosocial factors could serve as protective factors against suicidal behaviour. Possible interventions would require creating awareness to reduce stigmatization on suicidal behaviour and make it easy for students to seek help for their mental health.

Keywords: Psychosocial, Suicidal ideation, Optimism, Perceived social support, Self-esteem, General self-efficacy.