Suicidal behaviour and related risk factors among school-aged youth in the Republic of Benin
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Research on factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts has been conducted largely in developed countries. Research on West African countries in particular is lacking. Data were obtained from the Global School-based Health Survey conducted in Benin in 2009. This was a cross-sectional study of three grades, spanning Junior and Senior High, which sampled a total of 2,690 adolescents. Data on the occurrence of demographic, psycho-social and socio-environmental risk factors were tested using multinomial logistic regression for their association with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. The survey indicated that 23.2% had thought about suicide and 28.3% had made a suicide attempt in the previous year. Anxiety, loneliness, being bullied, alcohol misuse, illicit drug use, and lack of parental support were independently related to the ideation outcomes, suicidal ideation without planning and suicidal ideation with planning. Multinomial regression analysis, using one suicide attempt and multiple suicide attempts as outcomes, revealed that female sex, anxiety, loneliness, being physically attacked, and illicit drug use were associated these outcomes. The prevalence of suicide attempts reported in the survey is relatively high. It is possible that there are cultural
factors that could explain this finding. Our research indicates that many factors are related to the occurrence of suicidal
ideation and suicide attempts among youth in Benin. Illicit drug use and violence in particular are associated with a high rate of suicide attempts in Benin.