Suicidal Behaviors Among Adolescents – The Role of School and Home Environment: Findings From a Cross-Sectional National-Based Survey

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Abstract

Aim: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of suicidal behaviors (ideation, planning, and attempts) among adolescents aged 13–16, and to identify psychosocial correlates of suicidal behaviors. Method: The 2010 Kuwait Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS) cross-sectional study employed a two-stage cluster sample design targeting a representative sample of 2,672 students. A weighting factor was applied to make inferences to all students of the same age. Students' suicidal behaviors were the focus of this paper. Results: The prevalence rates of suicide ideation, planning, and attempts were 20.0% (95% CI = 18.5–21.6%), 14.0% (95% CI = 12.7–15.4%), and 18.1% (95% CI = 16.6–19.5%), respectively. About 26% of adolescents reported at least one suicidal behavior, while 8.5% experienced all three suicidal behaviors. Multivariate analysis revealed that girls, smoking, physical violence, feeling lonely, exposure to bullying at school, and having nonempathetic parents were significant correlates of the experience of suicidal behaviors among adolescents. Moreover, suicidal ideation stood out as a predictor of attempting suicide more than suicidal planning in both the total population and separately by gender. Conclusion: The prevalence of suicidal behaviors was alarmingly high among Kuwaiti adolescents. Adverse school and home environments strongly contributed to such behaviors. School-based mental health programs are necessary to reduce these life-threatening behaviors in Kuwait.

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