Suicide in urban Kampala, Uganda: a preliminary exploration

Afr Health Sci. 2011 Jun;11(2):219-27.


Background: Suicide was investigated in the urban setting of Kampala, Uganda.

Objectives: Firstly, to explore the use of two research methodologies, a retrospective review of patient records and the psychological autopsy methodology in suicide research in Uganda. Secondly to investigate the characteristics and correlates of urban suicide in Uganda.

Results: A male to female ratio of suicide of 3.4:1 and a peak age of suicide in the 20-39 years age group were found. The main methods of suicide were hanging and ingestion of poison (organophosphates). Problems with social networks, negative life events, higher psychological distress and lower quality of life were associated with suicide at univariate analysis. It was only psychological distress that retained significance at multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: The retrospective review of records at Mulago hospital was beset by incomplete records whereas a pilot psychological autopsy study was well accepted and might contribute valuable data in African settings.

Keywords: Africa; psychological autopsy; risk factors; suicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / methods*
  • Life Change Events*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Urban Population
  • Young Adult