Experience of low mood and suicidal behaviors among adolescents in Vietnam: Findings from two national population-based surveys

Minh Thi Hong Le, Huong Thanh Nguyen, Thach Duc Tran, Jane Rosamond Woodward Fisher

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Purpose: To date, no population-based data about experiences of low mood and suicidal behaviors among adolescents in Vietnam have been published in the English peer-reviewed literature. The aim was to establish the prevalence of self-reported symptoms of low mood, acts of self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and their correlates among adolescents from two national population-based surveys, Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth (SAVY) I (2003–2004) and II (2009–2010).

Methods: Data from the subset of participants aged 14–19 years from the two structured SAVYs were analyzed. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were used to test for between-group comparisons. Multiple logistic regressions were performed to determine factors associated with low mood and suicidal ideation. A weighting factor was used in all analyses.

Results: Prevalence of experiences of low mood was 34.06% in SAVY I and 37.34% in SAVY II; prevalence of suicidal behaviors was 5.28% (SAVY I) and 12.21% (SAVY II). Significant risk factors were being female, an ethnic minority, illiterate, or exposed to violence; perceiving study load as too heavy; following a religion other than Buddhism; or living in wealthier families. Better family cohesion protected adolescents from these unfavorable outcomes. Alcohol use co-occurred significantly with experiences of low mood and suicidal behaviors.

Conclusions: Self-reported lifetime experiences of low mood are common among Vietnamese adolescents, with signs of an increasing trend. Suicidal behaviors are less prevalent than in other settings but are also increasing. Further research is warranted to elucidate these findings and to inform interventions to optimize the mental health of adolescents in Vietnam.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339 - 348
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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