Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Religion as Correlates of Suicidal Ideation among Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools in Lagos State

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Religion as Correlates of Suicidal Ideation among Students in Some Selected Secondary Schools in Lagos State

Article excerpt


Suicidal thoughts otherwise known as suicidal ideation has several predisposing indicators. There are circumstances that may incline one to involve in suicidal ideation, these circumstances can generally be viewed from perspectives of mental disorders, life experiences or personal events and genetically or familial predisposition (Ismail, Magda, Wafaa, Khaled, & Amany, 2014). Osundeko, (2007) instantiated that indeed the rate of youths in Nigeria who indulge in suicidal ideation is on the increase but due to the ethnic beliefs, superstition and stigma attached to suicide, most individuals may find it somewhat difficult to report this issue. Nevertheless, only a few cases do become public knowledge.

Life experiences or personal events within one's society may play important but salient roles in suicidal ideation. However, the extent or degree to which personal events influence suicidal ideation is yet to be ascertained. Instances of personal events usually appear in form of comorbid factors with other mental issues (e.g.,) depression, drug use etc. However, only a few literatures have extensively examined the role of demographics in suicidal ideation among Nigerian students' especially secondary schools students.

Understanding suicidal ideation can pose problems of definition and measurement, this is because individuals hold different experiences and for this reason, suicidal ideation in individuals especially adolescents may vary. Not only do some research studies (Al-Sharqi, Sherra, Al-Habeeb, & Qureshi, 2012) indicated that bereavement, military experience, community violence, family violence e.t.c. predisposes suicidal ideation among adolescents but it is important to state here that some European studies have investigated the role of demographics on suicidal ideation but only a handful of literature have currently and extensively examined the role of either age, gender, ethnicity and religion in Nigeria.

The roles of demographic variables in research cannot be overemphasized. This is because demographic variables have formed the bane of early researches and important studies have been weaved around the value it (Al-Sharqi, 2012). Demography means a statistic characterizing human populations or segments of human populations that comprise of age, sex, religion, income etc. Demographic is varying characteristic that is vital. In other words, demographic variables refer to personal statistics that include such information as gender, religion, income level, ethnicity, race and family size of any given population of interest (Kaur, 2013).

This research study will be dwelling on how suicidal ideation is related to demographic variables such as age, gender, religion and ethnicity of adolescents. However, this research will not be completed without knowing who adolescents are. Who are adolescents? Adolescents may be regarded as individuals who belong to the period of adolescence. Adolescents according to (APA, 2002), are people who are between the ages of 10 and 18 years. What then is adolescence? Adolescence may be known as a time between the ages of 10 and 18 years when a young person is developing into an adult. These years are widely known to be a very sensitive period that requires close monitoring, proper handling and adequate monitoring by parents and concerned individuals like teachers, counsellors and other caregivers. But when adolescents are not properly handled and counseled, the developmental changes that occur in them may tend to pose serious problems for them.

In adolescence, the common risk owing to predisposing factors for socially related problems such as smoking, alcohol use and psychological distress follow mainly from the developmental processes associated with this life phase (Brown, Lejuez, Kahler & Strong, 2002), which explains the clustering of the risk factors for suicide with those for other adolescent health and social problems. Many people especially adolescents, experience suicidal thoughts at some point or the other in their lives. …

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