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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 5;9(2):e88233. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088233. eCollection 2014.

Suicidal behaviour and related risk factors among school-aged youth in the Republic of Benin.

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Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety (CIPCS), PeerCorps Trust Fund, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania ; Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.
Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana.
Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety (CIPCS), PeerCorps Trust Fund, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania ; Unit of Adolescent Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.
Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa ; Department of Psychology, University of Limpopo, Mangkwang-E, South Africa.



Research on factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts has been conducted largely in developed countries. Research on West African countries in particular is lacking.


Data were obtained from the Global School-based Health Survey conducted in Benin in 2009. This was a cross-sectional study of three grades, spanning Junior and Senior High, which sampled a total of 2,690 adolescents. Data on the occurrence of demographic, psycho-social and socio-environmental risk factors were tested using multinomial logistic regression for their association with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.


The survey indicated that 23.2% had thought about suicide and 28.3% had made a suicide attempt in the previous year. Anxiety, loneliness, being bullied, alcohol misuse, illicit drug use, and lack of parental support were independently related to the ideation outcomes, suicidal ideation without planning and suicidal ideation with planning. Multinomial regression analysis, using one suicide attempt and multiple suicide attempts as outcomes, revealed that female sex, anxiety, loneliness, being physically attacked, and illicit drug use were associated these outcomes.


The prevalence of suicide attempts reported in the survey is relatively high. It is possible that there are cultural factors that could explain this finding. Our research indicates that many factors are related to the occurrence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among youth in Benin. Illicit drug use and violence in particular are associated with a high rate of suicide attempts in Benin. Measures to address these issues may reduce the risk of self-inflicted violence.

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