First-onset and persistence of suicidal ideation in university students: A one-year follow-up study.


Health Services Research Group, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d´Investigacions Mèdiques, Barcelona, Spain; Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), Barcelona, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Longitudinal evidence about risk and protective factors for suicidal ideation among university students is limited.
METHODS : 12-month first-onset and persistence of suicidal ideation (SI) among Spanish first-year university students were estimated using baseline (T1) and 12-month follow-up (T2) online surveys. Information about STBs, childhood/adolescence adversities, positive relationships, mental disorders, recent stressful experiences, and university sense of membership was assessed. Logistic regression analysis was used to study risk/protective factors of first-onset and persistence of suicidal ideation (SI).
RESULTS : A total of 1,248 respondents (58.9% response) were included. Mean age at baseline was 18.7 (SD = 1.3) and 56.0% were female. 7.3% reported 12-month SI at T2. Incidence of new SI cases was 3.4% and, among students with SI at T1, 21.2% also reported SI at T2 (persistence). Risk factors of T2 SI included 12-month mood disorder at T2 both without (aOR = 12.08 95% CI 5.45-26.80) or with (aOR = 7.2 95% CI 2.91-17.80) lifetime mood at T1, past lifetime suicide attempt (aOR = 8.79 95% CI 2.37-32.64) and plan without attempt (aOR = 4.72 95% CI 2.32-9.61), and 12-month physical or sexual assault (aOR = 3.28 95% CI 1.13-9.46). Twelve-month mood at T2 withoutT1 lifetime mood (aOR = 11.27 95% CI 3.02-42.14) and childhood/adolescence emotional abuse or neglect (aOR = 3.41 95% CI 1.10-10.57) or having been bullied (aOR = 3.2 95% CI 1.08-9.53) were associated with first-onset of SI. Twelve-month mood at T2 either without (aOR = 13.92 95% CI 3.76-51.59) or with (aOR = 8.03 95% CI 2.13-30.29) were associated to T2 SI persistence. University sense of membership was protective for overall 12-month SI at T2 (aOR = 0.25 95% CI 0.12-0.53 for middle tertile), first-onset SI (aOR = 0.1 95% 0.02-0.55 for middle tertile) and persistence (aOR = 0.3 95% CI 0.11-0.81 for middle tertile).
CONCLUSIONS : Analysis was based on self-report data focusing on SI only, and conclusions about the direction of the associations are limited.
CONCLUSIONS : High proportion of SI suggests the need of suicide prevention strategies. The potential role of university sense of membership in reducing suicidal behaviour among university students deserves further investigation.


College survey,First-onset,Persistence,Protective factors,Risk factors,Suicidal ideation,

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