Globally, the second leading cause of death among adolescents is suicide and in middle-income countries adolescents' suicidal ideation is a neglected public health area. The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation among 15-17-year-old high school students in Iran.
Self-administered, Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) questionnaires were distributed to a representative sample (N =1517) of high-school students aged 15-17 in the city of Tabriz. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between relevant independent variables (e.g. gender) and the dependent outcome variable (suicidal ideation in the past 12 months).
Overall, 62 (4.1%, 95% CI= 3.1, 5.2) of 1,517 students had thoughts of suicide. Three hundred and thirteen (20.6%, 95% CI= 18.6, 22.7) students reported being bullied in the previous 30 days. In addition, 134 (8.8%, 95% CI= 7.5, 10.3) students reported having been sexually abused. Being worried that they could not eat or did not feel hungry (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 4.15; 95% Cl [1.71, 10.07]; current cigarette smoking (AOR = 3.00; 95% CI [1.69, 5.30]; thinking about using alcohol or other drugs (AOR = 4.28; 95% CI [2.41, 7.59]; and being sexually abused (AOR = 2.63; 95% CI [1.32, 5.24]) were all factors positively associated with suicidal ideation.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation was lower in our school students than in earlier studies. Interventions that address the issue of current cigarette smoking, worries, thinking about using alcohol or other drugs and sexual abuse should be given more priority by the public health authorities.