Suicide rates are on the increase among young people in several countries. Exposure to suicide among significant others, a well-known risk factor for suicidal behavior, is less studied in low-income, post-conflict countries. This study focuses on university students, a group known to be at risk for suicidal expressions, such as death-wishes, suicidal ideation, plans and attempts.
Aim: To investigate suicidal expressions among university students in Cambodia and their relationship to exposure to suicidal behavior among significant others.
Methods: 109 university students in the age group 18 to 24 from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) responded to Attitude Towards Suicide (ATTS) questionnaire, that reveals the exposure to suicidal behavior among significant others and self-reported suicidal expressions.
Results: 44.9% reported any of the suicidal expressions during the previous year. Young men reported significantly more exposure to suicide among relatives than women (34.5%, 13.7%, p=0.015). Exposure to completed/attempted suicide among siblings and other relatives was s own suicidal ideation (OR=5.09, 3.16, respectively) and self-reported probability for suicide (OR=4.35, 3.36, respectively). Young men exposed to suicide among siblings and friends were more at risk for suicidal ideation (OR= 7.17, 4.56, respectively) and those exposed to suicide among relatives reported suicide as a probability (OR= 4.58), whereas exposure was not associated to suicidal expression in young women.
Conclusions: Suicide prevention strategies in the universities in Cambodia should focus on the students exposed to suicide, as they are vulnerable for increased suicidal expressions.
2010. Vol. 6, no 4, 84-100 p.