Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Depression and Suicidal Ideation among College Students with and without Learning Disabilities in Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Depression and Suicidal Ideation among College Students with and without Learning Disabilities in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Depression is a serious mental health problem that may lead to different ripple effects in students. One of such ripple effects is suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts which may lead to suicide attempts or suicide. Suicidality or suicidal behaviour exists along a continuum that extends from suicidal ideation or thoughts, suicide related communications, suicide attempts and finally suicide (CDCP, 2008). While a review of theoretical and empirical works show that researches on depression and its effects on Nigerian students are common, investigations on depression and its effect on suicidality in Nigerian students are, however, not that common. Schlebusch, Burrows and Wada (2009), Palmier (2011), Fine, Alison, Vanderwesthuizen and Kruger (2012), and Norhayati and Suen (2014) reported that researches on suicidality in the developing world are sparse for a number of reasons such as socio-cultural taboos, political and economic instability, cultural and religious diversity and beliefs. In relation to taboo, committing suicide is seen as disgraceful and families of people who commit suicide do not openly come out to verify that a family member has committed suicide. As such, depression and suicidal ideation in Nigerian students with and without learning disabilities need to be diagnosed and treated so that these students do not go on to commit suicide.

1.1 Literature Review

A sizable population of students with and without learning disabilities are not immune to depression and suicidal ideation; an observation that has been buttressed by many scholars. Wilson et al. (2009) found high levels of depression and suicidal thoughts among participants with learning disabilities aged 15 - 44 in their study. Other participants in the study who were of the same age range, without learning disabilities were not as depressed and prone to suicidal ideations as the participants with learning disabilities. Interestingly, female participants with learning disabilities in the work of Wilson et al. (2009) were shown to have higher mental health problems and suicidal ideation. Research by Renee, James and Ashley (2011) has affirmed that students identified as having learning disabilities experience more symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation compared to students without learning disabilities. Medoff's study (2007) showed that depression had a strong link with suicidal behaviours in students with and without learning disabilities. Females with and without learning disabilities in this study had higher levels of depression and suicidal behaviours. Saghatoleslami (2005) opined that there is a link between depression and suicidal ideation in students with learning disabilities. Moon (2006), Oh, Park and Choi (2008) averred that poor academic performance could aggravate depression and suicidal ideation among students. It should be noted that while poor academic performance can occur generally in students, it is one of the major factors that denominate an individual as having learning disabilities as reported by Steenken(2000) in her work.

Sullivan's work (2007) indicates a link between depression and suicidal ideation in the population of students with disabilities. A significant number of scholars reported in their studies that depression could result in suicidal ideation in students without learning disabilities (Norhayati & Suen (2014); Cheung and Dewa (2006); Shaffer & Waslick (2002); Garlow, et al (2007); Galaif, et al (2007); Arria et al (2009); Wild, Flisher & Lombard (2004); Cannetto (2008); King et al. (2001); Dunlay, Aquah & Wilson (2015)

A systematic review of literature by Evans, Hawton and Rodham (2004) also linked depression as one of the factors causing suicidality in students. Depression and suicidality in the work of Cheung and Dewa (2006) were found to be higher in female students when compared to their male participants. Shaffer and Waslick (2002) also reported that adolescent females are at higher risk for developing depression and suicidality compared to their male counterparts. …

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