RESEARCH – March 2009

Sexual behaviour of depressive and suicidal Estonian schoolchildren


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AIM. The aim of the present study was to describe and analyse the prevalence of selfestimated depressiveness and suicidality among Estonian schoolchildren and their sexual behaviour as well as to identify if depressiveness and suicidality are related to sexual behaviour.
METHODS. The study is based on the data collected from a random sample of Estonian schoolchildren during the WHO crossnational HBSC study (Health Behavior in School-aged Children) in 2005/2006. The subjects were 13- and 15-year-old students (n = 3055). The data was collected using a self-completed questionnaire administered in the classroom. For data analysis, descriptive statistics, percentage distribution and the chi-square test were used.
RESULTS. The survey revealed that almost 39% of Estonian schoolchildren reported depressive feelings and/or suicidal ideation and 15% of the sample (17% of the boys and 13% of the girls) had had a sexual intercourse. Suicidality and depressiveness appeared to be related with sexual behaviour: schoolchildren who reported depressiveness or suicidal ideation were more likely to having had (an early) sexual intercourse and they were less likely using a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
CONCLUSION. Subjective depressiveness and suicidality among Estonian schoolchildren is alarming: it is essential to pay more attention to the mental health of young people by providing supportive, protective and awareness-raising measures.