The Open Public Health Journal

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Factors Associated with Suicidal Ideation, and Attempt Among Cancer Patients in Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital: Cross-Sectional, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Tesfalem Araya1, *, Weyni Gidey2
1 Department of Psychiatry, School of Nursing, College of Health Science, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia
2 Department of Psychiatry, School of Nursing, College of Health Science, Axum University, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia



Cancer patients are at high risk for suicide, particularly, when they are informed about the cancer diagnosis. However, there is a limited study in Ethiopia therefore, assessing suicidal ideation, attempt, and its associated factors are needed for intervention.


An institutional-based cross-sectional study was conducted from March to June 2019 at Ayder comprehensive specialized hospital with a total of 297 participants. Suicide module of the World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative version adopted from the World Health Organization (WHO) and used to assess suicidal ideation and attempt. Binary logistic regression analysis employed to identify factors associated with suicidal ideation and attempt. Odds ratio with 95% CI and P-value <0.05 was applied to identify significantly associated factors.


The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and the attempt was found to be 27.9% [95%CI (22.3, 31.6)] and 8.4% [95%CI (5.2, 10.3)] respectively. Being female [AOR= 2.23, 95%CI (1.27, 3.92)], stage IV cancer [AOR=2.08, 95%CI(1.47, 3.81)], having depression and anxiety [AOR=2.31, 95%CI(1.24,4.32)], poor social support [AOR=3.70, 95%CI(2.01,6.78)], and level 4 performance status [AOR=3.73, 95%CI(1.71, 8.13)] were the factors associated with lifetime suicidal ideation. While being in level 4, performance status was also significantly associated with suicidal attempt.


Both suicidal ideation and attempt among cancer patients are high. The suicidal ideation had a statistical association with sex, stage of cancer, having depression and anxiety, social support, and level of performance. Therefore, health education for early screening and treatment for depression and anxiety, and giving social support are crucial for the reduction of suicide.

Keywords: Suicidal ideation, Suicidal attempt, Cancer, Depression, Social support, Anxiety.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 13
First Page: 365
Last Page: 372
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-13-365
DOI: 10.2174/1874944502013010365

Article History:

Received Date: 16/03/2020
Revision Received Date: 22/05/2020
Acceptance Date: 12/06/2020
Electronic publication date: 30/07/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Araya & Gidey.

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 Department of Psychiatry, School of Nursing, College of Health Science, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia; E-mail:

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