In developing countries, including India, diarrhoea is a leading killer throughout the age pyramid. However, most of the medical literature on the determinants of diarrhoea focuses only on young children or the elderly, with health policy mainly targeting the former. Thus, the present article attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the determinants of diarrhoea in adolescents -- the understudied population. The paper develops a model using the medical literature, refines it to fit an Indian village context and tests the hypotheses identified through administering a questionnaire to 114 adolescents in an Indian village school. Results confirm the well known importance of household sanitation. In addition, the contribution of the present study is to assert that access to school toilets and usage of school toilets are also crucial. Furthermore, usage of toilets at school varies as a function of gender and the existence of a toilet in the student's household. Finally, the installation of toilets in schools is not enough, sustainable financial models must be found to maintain toilets and induce students to use them.
- Having access to a latrine and having adequate living space for members of a household significantly influence the occurrence of diarrhoeal episodes.
- Having access to a household latrine is an advantage for a student while at home, but it has the unintended consequence of provoking the student to withhold defecation or resort to open defecation while at school.
- Sanitation is not improved despite access to toilets as students resort to open defecation or other health-adverse behaviors due to non-functional or ill-maintained toilets.
- Usage of toilets at school varies as a function of gender and the existence of a toilet in the student's household.
- The installation of toilets in schools is not enough; sustainable financial models must be found to maintain toilets and induce students to use them.