Year: 2023 Source: Scientific Reports. (2023). 13, 1668. SIEC No: 20230405

We examined the potential mediating roles of anxiety and loneliness on the association of concurrent food insecurity (FI) and being bullied (BB) with suicidal behavior (SB) in Eswatini, a lower-middle-income country. We used data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS; N = 3264), which employed a two-stage cluster sampling: first, 25 schools were selected based on the proportionate probability of enrollment; second, classes were randomly selected. A self-reported 84-item GSHS questionnaire was used to collect data for students aged 13–17 years. FI was measured by requesting students to recall how often they went hungry because of a lack of food at home in the 30 days before the study. Multiple logistic regressions and binary mediation function was applied to examine mediating factors of SB. The prevalence of SB, FI, and BB among adolescents was 27.5%, 7.7%, and 30.2%, respectively. Moreover, the relationship between FI and BB with SB was partly (approximately 24%) mediated by anxiety and loneliness. Our results highlight the mediating roles of anxiety and loneliness in suicidal adolescents who experience FI and BB. In conclusion, interventions for alleviating SB in high-risk adolescents experiencing FI and BB should also be aimed at ameliorating anxiety and loneliness.