Association between Attempted Suicide and Academic Performance Indicators among Middle and High School Students in Mexico
Students’ mental health is associated with academic performance. In high income countries, higher students’ grades are related to lower odds of suicidal behaviors, but studies on other indicators of academic performance are more limited, specially in middle income countries.
Data from 28,519 middle and high school students selected with multistage clustered sampling in the Mexican National Survey of Student’s Drug Use. Using a self-administered questionnaire, lifetime suicidal attempt and four indicators of academic performance were assessed: age inconsistency with grade level, not being a student in the last year, perceived academic performance and number of failed courses. Multiple logistic regression models were used to control for sociodemographic and school characteristics.
The lifetime prevalence of attempted suicide was 3.0% for middle school students and 4.2% for high school students. Among middle school students, statistically adjusted significant associations of suicide attempt with academic performance indicators were: not being a student the year before, worse self-perceived performance and a higher number of failed courses; among high school students, predictors were failed courses and self-perceived academic performance, with ORs of 1.65 and 1.96 for the categories of good and fair/poor respectively, compared to those who reported very good performance.
Self-perceived academic performance was the main indicator for suicide in both school levels. Suicide prevention efforts in Mexico’s schools should include asking students about the perception they have about their own academic performance.
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