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Drug abuse and suicidal thoughts among employees: an emerging economy perspective

Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah (Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Joshua King Safo Lartey (School of Business, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Abdul-Razak Suleman (School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 7 April 2023

Issue publication date: 10 July 2024




Anchored with turbulence emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic, the work environment has become more stressful with debilitating effects on the well-being of employees. Employees rely on varying means of coping including drug abuse. However, the association between drug abuse and suicidal thoughts among employees in Ghana is unknown. Therefore, this study sought to examine the relationship between drug abuse and suicidal thoughts among employees in Ghana.


In a cross-sectional survey, this study purposively sampled 470 employees from three sectors of the Ghanaian economy (telecommunication, banking and manufacturing). The data was analysed using the multivariate analysis (MANOVA), Pearson’s r test and hierarchical regression.


Analysis of data revealed a positive relationship between drug abuse and suicidal thoughts, indicating that drug abuse is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts. Besides, it was also revealed that banking sector employees have a higher risk of having suicidal thoughts than employees in the telecommunication and manufacturing sectors.

Practical implications

Managers of organisations need to redesign work to embrace the challenging circumstances brought about as a result of COVID-19 and post-COVID implications. The work environment needs to be more supportive to shield employees from the physical and emotional demands of work during and after this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today than ever, investment in the implementation of employee-assisted programmes (EAPs) and employee well-being programmes (EWPs) to equip employees with the needed skills to cope with stressful conditions has been more than justified.


From a broader perspective, this study identifies drug abuse as a key risk factor for suicidal thoughts among employees, thereby highlighting the fact that smoking cessation programs and drug management therapies are an integral part of well-being programmes aimed at establishing equilibrium and gradually creating a wide gap between employees and suicidal thoughts.



Amponsah-Tawiah, K., Lartey, J.K.S. and Suleman, A.-R. (2024), "Drug abuse and suicidal thoughts among employees: an emerging economy perspective", Kybernetes, Vol. 53 No. 8, pp. 2638-2648.



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