Prevalence of Suicidal Tendencies and Associated Risk Factors among Nigerian University Students: A Quantitative Survey

Kehinde Lawrence1, *
1 Educational Psychology and Special Education, University of Zululand, KwaDlangeZwa, South Africa

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© 2022 Kehinde Lawrence

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Educational Psychology and Special Education, University of Zululand, KwaDlangeZwa, South Africa; E-mail:



Using a quantitative survey research approach, this study aims to investigate some risk factors associated with suicidal tendencies among undergraduate students in Nigeria. There is concern by society about the recent reported increased rate of suicide among undergraduate students in Nigeria


A multistage sampling method was used to select 2 100 undergraduate students in South West Nigeria. A questionnaire consisting of indices of suicidal tendencies was used to collect data and logistic regression was employed as a statistical tool.

Results and Discussion:

Findings suggest that 151 (7.5%) of the respondents with risk factors such as alcoholism (OR = 1.02, {1.01–1.04}) and helplessness (OR = 1.04, {1.01–1.06}) reported strong and significant association (p < 0.05) with suicidal tendencies. Depression (OR = .985, {.960–1.01}), hopelessness (OR = .999, {.971–1.01}), self-worry (OR = 1.00, {.988–1.02}), self-doubt (OR = 1.00, {.983–1.03}), inefficacy (OR = .991, {.966–1.02}), age (OR = 1.00, {.043–2.325}), and gender (OR = 1.04, {.724–1.50}) showed weak and insignificant association with suicidal tendencies (p > 0.05). This study concludes that there is a slight prevalence of suicidal tendencies among undergraduate students, and that there is a need to introduce suicidal prevention education into the university curriculum as a way of containing the prevalence of suicide among adolescents and youths.


For individuals identified with suicidal tendencies, studies should focus on the development of psychosocial interventions that can be used, such as counselling by psychologists and public health and social health workers. In the interim, urgent regular suicide awareness and prevention programs are suggested.

Keywords: Suicidal tendencies, Risk factors, Students, Health workers, Adolescents, Psychosocial interventions.