SUICIDE ATTEMPT AND IT'S CONSEQUENCES ON HEALTH OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
         Suicidal behaviour is any deliberate action with potentially life-threatening consequences, such as taking a drug overdose, deliberately crashing a car. Suicidal attempt often occur in response to a situation that the person views overwhelming (Hudgens, 2003), such as social isolation, death of a loved one, emotional trauma, serious physical illness, aging, unemployment, or financial problems, guilty feelings or dependence on alcohol or other drugs.
         Suicidal behaviour has been reported in technically advanced countries of the world as a leading cause of psychiatric emergencies among children and adolescents (Robert, 2008), and one of the strongest predicators of psychiatric admission for adolescents, he concluded. In the United States, for example, suicidal ideation and attempts among adolescents have been reported as being increasingly recognized as important public health problem (Stone, 2001). Epidemiological studies suggest that lifetime prevalence of suicidal attempts among high school students range from 3.5 to 9.0 per cent (Andrews & Lewinsohn, 2002). The Centre for Disease Control (2006) reported that suicide was the third leading cause of death among the males ages 13 to 29 years in 2004, accounting for 14.6 per cent in that age group in USA. 
          Sex abuse is another form of indirect self-destructive behaviour that students may indulge in. Sex abuse is any unlawful, forceful, sexual intercourse such as fornication, adultery or rape. Cult members sometimes engage in raping spree of female students in the universities. The survivors run the risk of becoming pregnant or contracting HIV (Heise, 2001; Mocellin, 2002). If the raped victim becomes pregnant, they run the risk of committing abortion and dying in the process, or dying during delivery. If they contract human immune-deficiency virus, it will gradually lead to full blown AIDS which may lead to death. The rapist may also contract HIV which may cause AIDS and eventually death. Sex abuse by cult members has been reported in various universities worldwide, including Nigeria (Amandikwa, 1999; Animba, 1999; Olukoya, 2002; & Ighodaro, 2002). People who have traumatic childhood experiences including sex abuse are more likely to attempt suicide, perhaps, because they are at higher risk of becoming depressed (Robert, 2008).
           Reckless driving by some university students who sometimes carry their parents’ cars for a jamboree is a form of suicidal behaviour. They may engage in excessive speed and dangerous overtaking after drinking which may sometimes lead to premature and reckless deaths through road accidents. 
        Studies have been carried out on cumulative prevalence of suicidal attempt of youths in technically advanced countries of the world (Reynolds & Mazza, 2000; Roberts, 2002; Shaffer & Hicks, 2004). The results of these studies showed that the suicide rate varied by age groups. Of all age groups, they reported, the elderly have the highest suicide rates, particularly white men over the age of 75. This high rate of suicide among the elderly people was adduced by the researchers to be due to the debilitating effects of physical illness, loss of social roles and relationships, and untreated depression. Moscicki (2003) and National Centre for Health Statistics (2004) carried out studies on the cumulative prevalence of suicidal attempt of youths in United States of America. The results of the studies revealed that suicide was the third leading cause of death for persons aged 15 to 24. The reason for this they adduced, was associated with a greater prevalence of mental illness in young people, increased use of drugs in this population, and the availability of firearms in the homes. Suicidal attempthave also been cumulatively reported to be a strong predictor of psychiatric hospital admissions in United States (Safer, 2007). The consequences and precursors of suicidal attempt tend to point to the youths (the age bracket of the student population in Nigeria). In Nigeria, there is paucity of data on the suicidal attempt of youths, especially the undergraduates of universities, and this may affect the prevalence of suicidal attempt. The prevalence of suicidal attempt varied depending on the terminology used and tended to be higher in studies employing anonymous questionnaires than in studies employing non-anonymous methods (questionnaires or interviews), although most of these differences were not statistically significant (Evans et al., 2005). Warheit, Zimmerman, Khoury, Vega, and Gil (1996); Roberts, Chen and Roberts (2001); Demetriades, Murray, Sinz, Myles, Chand, Sathyaragiswaran, Noguchi, Bongrad, Vryer, and Gaspard, (1998); Garofalo, Wolf, Wissow, Woods, and Goodman (1999), reported higher prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts among Hispanic females than males. Grunbaum, Basen-Engquist and Pandey (2008), however reported no significant gender differential in the suicidal behaviour of their own study. World Health Organization, (2002) found out that attempted suicide was most common in 15-24 year old young females, and should be prevented.

Statement of the Problem
         Ideally, students should be made to study under conducive environment without undue stress. Conducive environment constitutes of a condition devoid of economic, financial, social, and psychological problems. This, however appears not to be so with students in Nigerian universities. According to Eneh (1998), many Nigerian university students face some excruciating economic difficulties such as inability to pay their school fees, purchase essential textbooks for their courses, feed and clothe themselves or cope with academic work, and obtain good medical care while on campus. These unaccomplished needs among others may culminate in suicidal attempt (Eneh, 1998).

Purpose of the Study
Specifically, the study sought to find out:
1                    the prevalence of completed suicide among undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria;
2                    the prevalence of suicidal attempts among the undergraduates of universities in South
Eastern States of Nigeria;
3                    the prevalence of suicidal ideation among the undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria; 
4                    the health effect of suicide attempt among the undergraduates of universities in South
5                    Eastern States of Nigeria
6                    preventive measures against the prevalence of suicidal attempt based on students characteristics (sex and year of study).

Research Questions
            The following research questions have been posed to guide the study.
1                    What is the prevalence of completed suicide among undergraduates of universities in
       South Eastern States of Nigeria?
2                    What is the prevalence of suicidal attempts among undergraduates of universities in
South Eastern States of Nigeria?
3                    What is the prevalence of suicidal ideation among undergraduates? 
4                    What is the health effect of suicide attempt among undergraduates?
5                    What preventive measures are adopted against suicidal attempt among the
undergraduates of universities in South Eastern States of Nigeria?

Hypotheses
 The following null hypothesis was formulated for the present study.
 HO1:    suicidal attempt among the undergraduates has no significant influence on the health status of (p < .05).

Significance of the Study
  The benefits that shall accrue from this study are many. The results of the findings from the data analysed on the prevalence of completed suicide and suicidal attempts it is hoped, would enable the health educators to suggest intervention and prevention strategies appropriate for undergraduates at risk for suicidal attempt. It would help sociologists and other educators to provide intervention programmes to prevent premature deaths due to suicides across the lifespan in Nigeria. It is expected also that the results of the findings from the study will help to reduce the harmful after-effects associated with suicidal attempt and traumatic impacts of suicide on family members and significant others, as well as reduce the social stigma attached to family members of people who commit or attempt suicide. This might be achieved if the isolation and stigmatization of family members of suicide victims are prevented or minimized. The finding will also help to ginger up the various universities in Nigeria to establish suicide prevention strategy centers with telephone ‘hotline’ services. These centers should be managed by professionally trained suicidologists or medical practitioners versed in identification and treatment of risk factors associated with suicidal attempt. 
The results of the findings from the analysis of data on the prevalence of suicidal ideation will help the psychiatrists and suicidologists to identify early enough students with signs of depression, schizophrenia and other mood problems and to treat them before they start attempting suicide. It will also help guidance counsellors to plan out programmes of activities to enable the students reduce incidences and prevalence of suicidal ideation through a co-ordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling in the universities. A well-coordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling for students in our universities, it is expected, would decrease risk and/or increase protective factors against such suicidal ideation behaviour. 

Scope of the study

 The study was limited to federal, state, and private universities in the South Eastern States of Nigeria. South Eastern States of Nigeria comprises Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.  The federal, state, and private universities in these states include five states, four federal and one private university. 

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 41 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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