HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 13 no. 2 (2013)

Prevalence and Associated Factors of Suicide Ideation among University Students: Evidence from Large-Scale Surveys

Yan Liu | Romeo B. Lee

Discipline: Social Science



Although it constitutes a highly reliable predictor of successful suicide attempt, suicide ideation has received scant attention in terms of research and prevention in much of Asia. Given the high levels of burgeoning suicide cases among Asia’s youth populations, such as those in Japan and the Philippines, there is a need to seriously focus on the phenomenon of suicide ideation. If those young people who are seriously thinking about committing suicide are identified and given prompt interventions, the numbers of persons dying from suicide can be effectively reduced. This review article seeks to provide a research perspective on suicide ideation among university students in order to help guide the region’s research and interventions on youth suicide. Cross-sectional evidence from nine large-scale surveys on the prevalence and associated factors of suicide ideation among university students was reviewed. The surveys, which had sample sizes ranging from 1,181 to 16,000 and were selected either randomly or conveniently, were conducted in various countries. The surveys measured suicide ideation by asking university students a lone question/statement or two or more questions/statements. Some only had one specific time reference for their measure while one study had multiple time references. Suicide ideation only formed part of the range of mental health issues examined by the surveys. Considerable numbers of university student populations were reported to have thought about killing themselves. A variety of factors, ranging from socio-demographic characteristics to psychological/mental health conditions to social conditions, were identified as statistically significantly related with suicide ideation. This report elaborates on the details of the review evidence on prevalence and associated factors vis-à-vis other related research information, and in its final section, underscores major points that future research in Asia may consider.