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Article

Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Harmful Alcohol Use Associated with Intimate Partner Violence and Rape Exposures among Female Students in South Africa

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South African Medical Research Council Gender and Health Research Unit, 1 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria Private Bag x385, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
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School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, 60 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa
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Sexual Violence Research Initiative, 28 High Street, Waterkloof, Pretoria 0145, South Africa
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Department of Basic Education, 222 Struben Street, Pretoria Central, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lindsay Stark, Emma Fulu, Ilana Seff and Massy Mutumba
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7913; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137913
Received: 20 April 2022 / Revised: 8 June 2022 / Accepted: 10 June 2022 / Published: 28 June 2022
While ample evidence from high-income country settings indicates the prevalence and risk factors for multiple mental ill-health symptoms in student populations, evidence from low- and middle-income higher education settings remains limited. We determined the frequency, associations, and structural pathways between mental health outcomes and possible risk factors among a sample of 1292 predominantly Black African and female students ages 18–30 years, enrolled at nine purposefully selected public universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) campuses. We measured and created a mental ill-health latent outcome consisting of depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thoughts. We also measured traumatic exposures including childhood trauma, recent intimate partner violence (IPV), non-partner rape, and other life traumatic events. We used structural equation modelling to analyse data. We found that 50% of the surveyed students binge drank, 43% reported depressive symptoms, 9% reported PTSD symptoms, and 21% had suicidal thoughts. Students’ experiences of childhood trauma, food insecurity, other traumatic events, non-partner rape, and IPV impacted the mental ill-health latent. IPV experiences mediated the relationships between experiences of childhood trauma or other trauma and the mental ill-health latent, and the relationship between binge drinking and other life traumatic events. Non-partner rape mediated the relationship between food insecurity and the mental ill-health latent. Binge drinking directly impacted non-partner rape experience. The findings substantiate the need for campus-based mental health promotion, psychosocial services and treatments, and implementation of combined interventions that address the intersections of violence against women and mental health among students in South Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: students; depression; PTSD; harmful alcohol use; suicidal thoughts; intimate partner violence; rape; childhood trauma; South Africa; mental health students; depression; PTSD; harmful alcohol use; suicidal thoughts; intimate partner violence; rape; childhood trauma; South Africa; mental health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Machisa, M.T.; Chirwa, E.; Mahlangu, P.; Nunze, N.; Sikweyiya, Y.; Dartnall, E.; Pillay, M.; Jewkes, R. Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Harmful Alcohol Use Associated with Intimate Partner Violence and Rape Exposures among Female Students in South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 7913. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137913

AMA Style

Machisa MT, Chirwa E, Mahlangu P, Nunze N, Sikweyiya Y, Dartnall E, Pillay M, Jewkes R. Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Harmful Alcohol Use Associated with Intimate Partner Violence and Rape Exposures among Female Students in South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(13):7913. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137913

Chicago/Turabian Style

Machisa, Mercilene Tanyaradzwa, Esnat Chirwa, Pinky Mahlangu, Ncediswa Nunze, Yandisa Sikweyiya, Elizabeth Dartnall, Managa Pillay, and Rachel Jewkes. 2022. "Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Harmful Alcohol Use Associated with Intimate Partner Violence and Rape Exposures among Female Students in South Africa" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 13: 7913. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137913

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