PREVALENCE AND PREVENTION OF SUICIDAL BEHAVIOURS AMONG UNDERGRADUATES OF UNIVERSITIES

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PREVALENCE AND PREVENTION OF SUICIDAL BEHAVIOURS AMONG
UNDERGRADUATES OF UNIVERSITIES

Abstract The study was carried out to determine the prevalence and prevention of suicidal behaviours among undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria from 1999-2008. Descriptive survey research design was utilized for the study. Five objectives with five corresponding research questions and two hypotheses were formulated to give direction to the search for information. The instrument for data collection was documented records and a researcher-constructed questionnaire. The co-efficient of homogeneity of the instrument was established through a split-half method using thirty (30) students from Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State. The data collected from the split-half method were analysed and the coefficient of homogeneity (r) of .67 was obtained. The sample for the study consisted of 891 undergraduates of universities drawn through the multi-stage sampling procedures from a population of 17,825 undergraduates using means, percentages, t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The findings of the study were summarised thus: there was very low prevalence of completed suicide in 1999-2000 (27.47%); in 2001-2002 (23.07%); in 2003-2004 (19.80%); in 2005-2006 (15.48%); and in 2007-2008 (13.18%). There was very low prevalence of suicidal attempts in 1999-2000 (27.21%); in 2001-2002 (23.53%); in 2003-2004 (18.38%); in 2005-2006 (16.91%); and in 2007-2008 (13.97%). There was a low prevalence of suicidal ideation among the students studied ( x = 1.47;SD= 0.62). There was also a low prevalence of indirect selfdestructive behaviours among the undergraduates studied ( x = 1.47; SD=0.59). Preventive measures against suicidal behaviours included: seminars for students at risk of drug abuse and possession of lethal weapons (71.10%); ban on the use of lethal weapons in the university (66.7%); and dismissal from the university of students found with dangerous weapons (61.30%). There was no significant influence of gender on the prevalence of suicidal behaviours (tcal,=.38< .05) among the undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria; and students year of study had no significant influence on suicidal behaviours (F-cal, = 0.28 < F – crit, 2.38; p

<.05) among undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria. It was recommended that since suicide is a social health problem, research should be conducted in Nigeria on the causes of suicidal behaviours. This will help in formulating a blue print for preventive intervention strategies and service delivery in Nigeria. There should be the teaching of suicide education and prevention in schools and colleges in Nigeria. For this to be meaningful, suicide education should be capable of loading its contents with topics such as signs, myths and facts about suicide, factors associated with suicide and the possible ways of helping the suicidal persons; among other recommendations. Finally, the implications of the study were proffered. >

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