Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya


Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya



Chan LF, Maniam T, Azhar Shah S, Loh SF, Mohamed Saini S, Sinniah A, Haji Idris Z , Tan SMK


Department of Psychiatry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Department of Community Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Institute of Health Behaviour Research, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Objectives: To determine the risk of sexual abuse, substance abuse and socio-demographic factors for suicidal ideation, plans and deliberate self-harm and propose steps to prevent youth suicidal behavior, which is a growing public health problem.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 4581 adolescents aged 17-18-years-old, selected randomly from all Malaysian adolescents to undergo compulsory youth camps located in Selangor, Malaysia in 2010. Their suicidal ideations, plans and deliberate self-harm (DSH) were assessed using self-administered questionnaires developed to reflect the local cultural setting.

Results: The rate of suicidal ideation, plans and deliberate self-harm in this sample were 7.6%, 3.2% and 6.3% respectively. The multivariable- adjusted odds ratio for sexual abuse as a predictor for suicidal behavior were as follows: suicidal ideation 1.99 (95%CI:1.56-2.55), plans 1.57 (95%CI 1.09-2.27) and DSH 2.26 (95%CI 1.75-2.94); for illicit drugs: ideation 4.05 (95%CI: 2.14-7.67), plans 2.624 (95%CI:1.05-6.53) and DSH 2.06, (95%CI:1.05-4.04); for alcohol: DSH 1.34 (95%CI 1.00-1.79). Girls were at higher risk for all suicidal behavior: ideation 2.51 (95%CI: 1.91-3.30), plans 2.07 (95%CI: 1.39-3.08) and DSH 1.59 (95%CI:1.19- 2.11).

Conclusion: Given the well-founded concern of increasing risk of suicidal behavior among youth, preventive efforts should adopt a more comprehensive approach dealing with sexual abuse and substance abuse, and their sequelae, especially in girls.