Substance use and Suicidal ideation among Adolescents in Kerala

  • Anita Sharon Joshua
  • Mamman Joseph C
  • Sainaba P


Background: Health-risk behaviours like substance use and suicidal ideation among adolescents is a widespread issue with serious health and social consequences.

Aim: The primary aim of this study was to explore the relationship between substance use and suicidal ideation among the adolescents in Kerala. Gender differences in substance use and suicidal ideation among adolescents was also studied.

Methods: 223 adolescents (151 males and 72 females) were selected from different higher secondary schools in Kerala and were assessed with Personal Experience Screening Questionnaire (PESQ) and Suicidal Ideation Scale (SIS). The data were analysed using Spearman’s Rank order correlation and Mann-Whitney U-test.

Results: The results showed that substance use correlated positively with suicidal ideation with a correlation coefficient of 0.163*. Out of 223 participants, 32 students engaged in mild to moderate substance use and 10 students fell under the category of substance abuse or dependence. 75 students exhibited low suicidal ideation and 148 students had average to high suicidal ideation. Substance use was found to be more among males whereas suicidal ideation was more among females.

Conclusion: Findings imply the need to reduce substance use and suicidal ideation among adolescents. Reducing the rate of substance use among adolescents can help in bringing down the rate of suicidal ideation. There is an urgent need for awareness programmes and preventive measures especially based on schools to reduce health-risk behaviours among adolescents. Future researchers need to monitor self-harming behaviours among adolescents and should conduct more researches in this area that will aid in implementing better interventions.

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