Suicide and Associated Risk Factors Among College Students

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran/Research Center for Health Sciences, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

2 Counseling Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

3 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

4 The Vice-Chancellor for Culture and Students, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran


Background: Despite the growing epidemic of suicide among college students, the associated risk factors of suicide have not been properly understood in developing countries. This study estimated the prevalence of suicide ideation and attempt and associated risk factors among college students.
Methods: We performed this cross-sectional study from January to May 2016 and invited college students to participate voluntarily in the study. The outcomes of interest were suicide ideation and attempt. The exposures of interest were behavioral risk factors, including having girlfriends/boyfriends, emotional breakdown, illegitimate heterosexual and/or homosexual intercourse, cigarette smoking, substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and social media.
Results: Of 1254 participants, 146 (11.7%) had suicidal ideation during the last year and 63 (5.0%) had attempted suicide at least once in the last year. After adjusting the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for age and sex, suicide ideation was significantly associated with emotional breakdown 2.33 (1.64, 3.31), heterosexual intercourse 2.71 (1.77, 4.15), homosexual intercourse 3.21 (1.97, 5.25), cigarette smoking 4.03 (2.65, 6.11), substance abuse 12.09 (7.97, 18.35), psychiatric disorders 12.48 (7.59, 20.53), no interest in the discipline 2.08 (1.40, 3.07), and despair about the future 2.18 (1.49, 3.19). There was no significant association between suicide ideation and using social media 1.13 (0.65, 1.96).
Conclusion: This study provided beneficial information about the association between suicidal ideation and attempted suicide and some behavioral risk factors among college students and emphasized the importance of these modifiable risk factors that if neglected, may severely impair the students' function.