is a major public health issue in many countries across the globe and Ghana is no
exception. As many Western countries have copious amount of research that have help
in shedding more light on the phenomenon, very little research on the psychological
aspect of suicide has been done in Ghana and other African countries. In order to
contribute to the understanding of suicide in Ghana, this research investigated
the impact of psychological distress, religiosity and Africentric values/Afrocentrism
on adolescent suicidal ideation. Three hundred and eighty-three (383) senior high
students between the ages of 13 and 19 years were recruited. The participants completed
standardized survey instruments which measured religiosity, psychological distress,
Afrocentrism and suicidal ideation. The results showed that higher levels of psychological
distress were significantly associated with stronger suicidal ideation. However,
this relationship was weakened by the moderation role of the interaction between
Afrocentrism and religiosity. It was also discovered that religiosity and Afrocentrism
significantly predicted adolescent suicidal ideation. Significant gender differences
were established on suicidal ideation. Adolescents who reside in rural areas scored
higher on suicidal ideation and psychological distress compared to urban residents.
There were no rural-urban differences in adolescents’ religiosity and Afrocentrism.
The theoretical and practical implications of these findings were discussed.
Ideation, Adolescent, Psychological Distress, Religiosity. Africentric/Afrocentric
Association of Suicidology. (1998). School suicide prevention guide- lines. Washington,
M. K. (1987). The Afrocentric Idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
M. K. (1998). The American mode of transcendence (pp. 295-301). In G. Jennings,
Passages beyond the gate: A Jungian approach to understanding the nature of American
psychology at the dawn of the new millennium. Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster
M. K. (2006). The rhetoric of globalization: Europeanization of human ideas. Journal
of Multicultural Discusses, 1(2):152-8.
A. T. (1963). Thinking and depression: Idiosyncratic content and cognitive distortions.
Archives of General Psychiatry, 9: 324-333
Beck, A. T., Kovacs, M. & Weissman,
A., (1979). Assessment of suicidal intention: the Scale for Suicide Ideation. Journal
of Consulting Clinical Psychology, 47:343–352.
F. Z., Townsend, T.G., Cherry, V. R., Cunningham, D. M. (1997). The influence of
an Africentric worldview and demographic variables on drug knowledge, attitudes,
and use among African American youth. Journal of Community Psychology25:421–433.
for Disease Control and Prevention (2006a). Welcome to WISQARS (Web-based Injury
Statistics Query and Reporting System). Retrieved September, 16th 2016, from Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury and Prevention Control
Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/
for Disease Control and Prevention (2006b). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United
States, 2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summary, 55(5),
for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Mortality and Mortality Weekly Report,
Suicide Trends among Persons Aged 10-24 Years, 1994-2012. Access from www.cec.gov/mmwr
on September, 15th 2015.
M. (2009). Suicide in Ghana. Accessed on December, 215 from www.modedernghana.com.
E. (1951). Le Suicide. Translated by J. Spaulding and G. Simpson. Glencoe, IL: Free
E. (2002). Suicide. London: Routledge Classics.
E.H., (1968). Identity Youth and Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton & Company Eshun,
S., (1999). Cultural Variations in Hopelessness, Optimism, and Suicidal Ideation:
A Study of Ghana and U.S. College Samples.
Cross-Cultural Research, 33(3), 227- 238.
S. (2003). Sociocultural Dete, rminants of Suicide Ideation: A Comparison Between
American and Ghanaian College Samples. Suicide and Life-Threatening behaviour,
3 (2); 165-171.
D. L., Goldston, D. B., Costello, E. J., & Angold, A. (2006). Proximal psychiatric
risk factors for suicidality in youth: The Great Smoky Mountains Study. Archives
of General Psychiatry, 63:1017 24.
(2010). Girl, 13, Commits Suicide. General News of Friday, 17 September 2010. Retrieved
on 19th September, 2010, from www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=190545
L., Coleman, M., Beckmeyer, J., Benson, Jamison, T., McCaulley, G., & Sutton,
E. (2007). Poverty in American: Rural and urban differences (Research Brief). Columbia:
University of Missouri, Human Environmental Sciences Extension.
D. B., Molock, S. D., Whitbeck, L. B., Murakami J. L., Zayas, L. H, & Hall,
G. C. (2008). Cultural considerations in adolescent suicide prevention and psychosocial
treatment. The American Psychologist, 63 (1):14-31.
L. & Stoppelbein L. (2002). Religiosity, attributional style, and social support
as psychosocial buffers for African American and White adolescents’ perceived risk
for suicide. Suicide Life-Threat. 3:404–417.
C. & Longshore, D. (1996). Africentrism: Psychometric analyses of a self-report
measure. Journal of Black Psychology, 22(1), 86-106.
R, Anam, Y. & Rakshanda, R. (2016). Religiosity in relation with psychological
distress and mental wellbeing among Muslims. International Journal of Research Studies
in Psychology, 5 (2): 65-74.
S. C., Fellingham, G. W. & Lyon, J. L. (2002). Suicide Rates and Religious Commitment
in Young Adult Males in Utah. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155 (5): 413-419
J. K. (2006). A review of the literature on rural suicide: Risk and protective factors,
incidence and prevention. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide
Prevention, 27, 189– 199. doi:10.1027/0227-5910.27.4.189.
H. (2010). Cultural Research in Suicidology: Challenges and Opportunities. Suicidology
H., Akotia, C. S., Owens, V., Knizek, B. L., Nordvik, H., Schroeder, R., & Kinyanda,
E., (2008). Self-reported suicidal behavior and attitudes toward suicide and suicide
prevention among psychology students in Ghana, Uganda, and Norway. Crisis, 9(1),
F., Morrant, M., Hall, B., Moscovitz, N. et al (2006). Natioanal Guidelines on Suicide.
Retrieved from http://www.ccsmh.ca/en/projects/suicide.cfm, on 24th January, 2015.
R.C., Borges, G & Walters, E.E (1999). Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime
suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry,
R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L.J, Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., et
al. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives
of General Psychiatry, 60(2):184-9.
NC, Gutheil TG (1994), Neglect of religious issues in scale-based assessment of
suicidal patients. Hosp Community Psychiatry 45(4):366-369.
B. & Signh, R. (2006). Suicide Ideation and Psychopathology among Adolescents.
Europe's Journal of Psychology, 2 (8): 1-13.
D. (1991). The Study of Suicidal Lives. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 21
. Liu, X.,
Sun, Z., & Yang, Y. (2008). Parent-reported suicidal behavior and correlates
among adolescents in China. Journal of Affective Disorders, 105: 73-80
I. W., Norman, W.H., Bishop, S. B., & Dow, M. G. (1991). The Modified Scale
for Suicidal Ideation: Reliability and validity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 54, 724-725.
(2009). Editorial: 1,556 Suicides in 2008. Retrieved on 22nd September, 2015 from
C. (1964). Rigid thinking in suicidal individuals. Journal of Consulting Psychology,
R. (2010). Ghana: Suicide rate hits alarming proportions. Accessed on 20th November,
2016 from http://allafrica.com/stories/201001181271.html (accessed 8/12/201).
T. S. & Emery, R.E. (1998). Abnormal Psychology (2nd Ed.). Prentice Hall Inc.,
O., Dogra, N., Esan, O., & Adedokun, B., (2008). Prevalence and Correlates of
Suicidal Behaviour among Adolescents in Southwest Nigeria. International Journal
of Social Psychiatry, 54(1) 34-46.
J. & Akotia, C. S. (2014). Suicidal behavior in Ghana, In C.S. Akotia and C.
C. Mate-Kole, (Eds) Contemporary Psychology: Readings from Ghana, p.131-144.
J., Hjelmeland, H., Akotia, C.S. & Knizek, B. L. (2011b). The Influence of Religious
factors on Attitudes towards Suicidal Behavior in Ghana. Journal of Religion and
J., Knizek, B. L. Akotia, C.S. & Hjelmeland, H. (2012). Attitudes of psychologys
and nurses towards suicide and suicide prevention in Ghana: A qualitative study.
International Journal of Nursing Studies, 49, 691-700.
T.G. & Boccaccini, M.T. (1997a). The Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith
Questionnaire. Pastoral Psychology, 45, 375-387.
T.G. & Boccaccini, M.T. (1997b). Reliability and validity of the Santa Clara
Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire. Pastoral Psychology, 45, 429-437.
T.G., Yancey, S., Sherman, A., Guertin, M. & Partdini, D. (1999). Further validation
for the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire. Pastoral Psychology,
48, 11- 21.
M.J., Simon, V., Cheah, C. L. S. Nock, M.K., Aikins, J. W. & Spirito, A., (2008).
Longitudinal Trajectories and Predictors of Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Attempts
Following Inpatient Hospitalization. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
E. S. (1980). A possible classification of suicidal acts based on Murray's need
system. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 10; 175-181
Edwin S., (1981). Orientations toward Death: Sub-intentioned Death and Indirect
Suicide. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 11(4); 232–253
E. S. (1992). What do suicides have in common? Summary of the psychological approach.
In B. Bongar (Ed.), Suicide: Guidelines for assessment, management, and treatment
(pp. 3-15). New York: Oxford University Press.
G. & Brent, D. A. (2016). Suicide and suicidal behavior. Lancet, 19: 1227-1239.
R. L. (2007). Acculturation and acculturative stress as indicators for suicide risk
among African Americans. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77 (3): 386-9.
R. L., & Bishop, S. (2005). Examining a model of the relation between religiosity
and suicidal ideation in a sample of African American and White college students.
Suicide & Life- Threatening Behavior, 35(6), 630-639.
N. M. (2006). The development and validation of the whitlow Measure of Afrocentric
relationship attitudes. A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate
School University of Missouri-Columbia. Retrieved on the 6th April 2015 from
Health Organization (1999). Figures and facts about suicide. Geneva: WHO
Health Organization (2012). Public health actions for the prevention of suicide:
a framework. Geneva: WHO Document Production Services.
N.Z., and Ahmad H.S., (2007). Religiosity and Suicide Ideation in Clinically Depressed
Patients. Malaysian Journal of Psychiatry, 16 (1): 254-316.