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Suicidal Ideation among Youth Living in the Slums of Kampala, Uganda

School of Public Health, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3984, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA
Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi, University Way, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Africa Mental Health Foundation, P.O. Box 48423-00100, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Uganda Youth Development Link, Sir Apollo Kaggwa Rd, P.O. Box 12659, Kampala 00256, Uganda
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 298;
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Suicide Research)
PDF [294 KB, uploaded 9 February 2018]


The purpose of this study is to examine the factors associated with suicidal ideation among youth living in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. Analyses are based on cross-sectional survey data, collected in 2014, of a convenience sample (n = 1134) of urban service-seeking youth participating in a Uganda Youth Development Link drop-in center. Logistic regression analyses were computed to determine the psychosocial factors associated with suicidal ideation. Among youth participants, 23.54% (n = 266) reported suicidal ideation in the past year. In the multivariable analysis, suicidal ideation was associated with being female (OR: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.15, 2.25), reporting one (OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.18) or two deceased parents (OR: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.03, 2.35), ever living on the streets (OR: 2.65; 95% CI: 1.86, 3.79), problem drinking (OR: 1.83; 95% CI: 1.19, 2.80), sexually transmitted infection (OR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.14, 2.21), ever being raped (OR: 1.49; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.20), and experiencing physical child abuse (OR: 2.40; 95% CI: 1.75, 3.27). Our findings underscore many unmet needs in this vulnerable population. However, strategies that specifically seek to address problem drinking—a modifiable risk factor for suicidal ideation—may be particularly warranted in this low-resource setting. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescent health; suicidal ideation; problem drinking; high-risk youth; sub-Saharan Africa adolescent health; suicidal ideation; problem drinking; high-risk youth; sub-Saharan Africa
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Culbreth, R.; Swahn, M.H.; Ndetei, D.; Ametewee, L.; Kasirye, R. Suicidal Ideation among Youth Living in the Slums of Kampala, Uganda. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 298.

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