Original Research

Prevalence and correlates of suicidal behaviour among a national population-based sample of adults in Zambia

Supa Pengpid, Karl Peltzer
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 27 | a1566 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v27i0.1566 | © 2021 Supa Pengpid, Karl Peltzer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 May 2020 | Published: 13 January 2021

About the author(s)

Supa Pengpid, ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand; and, Department of Research Administration and Development, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Karl Peltzer, Department of Research Administration and Development, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Suicide is a major public health issue.

Aim: This study aimed to assess the prevalence and correlates of lifetime suicide attempts and past 12-month suicidal behaviour (ideation, plans and/or attempts) among adults (18–69 years).

Setting: Zambia.

Method: National cross-sectional data from 4302 adults (median age: 31 years) who took part in the ‘2017 Zambia STEPS survey’ were analysed.

Results: The results indicate that 2.3% of participants had ever attempted suicide and 8.5% engaged in past 12-month suicidal behaviour (ideation 7.8%, plan 3.6% and/or attempt 1.1%). In adjusted logistic regression analysis, having a family member who died from suicide, having had a heart attack, angina or stroke and daily tobacco smoking were associated with ever suicide attempt. In adjusted logistic regression, female sex, non-paid work status (including student, homeworker and retired), alcohol use-related family problem, passive smoking, heart attack, angina or stroke and alcohol dependence were positively associated with past 12-month suicidal behaviour, and belonging to other ethnic groups was negatively associated with past 12-month suicidal behaviour. In addition, in an unadjusted analysis, 18–24-year-old participants, those who were never married, separated, divorced or widowed, having urban residence, family members died from suicide, having lower systolic blood pressure and daily smokeless tobacco use, were associated with past 12-month suicidal behaviour.

Conclusion: Almost 1 in 10 participants was engaged in suicidal behaviour in the past 12 months, and several associated indicators were found that can assist in planning interventions.


Keywords

adults; correlates; suicide attempt; suicidal behaviour; Zambia

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