Attitudes, beliefs and myths about suicidal behaviour : a qualitative investigation of South African male students

Meissner, Birte Linda (2013-03)

Thesis (MSc) -- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Suicidal behaviour is a serious public health problem. Globally and in South Africa a gendered pattern of suicide rates has been observed, with males being more likely to kill themselves than females. To date little quantitative and qualitative research is available on young male suicidal behaviour in South Africa. This study investigated the attitudes, beliefs and myths young male students hold about suicidal behaviour. Thirteen male university students (ages 20 to 25 years; with and without a history of suicidal behaviour), who volunteered to take part in the present study in response to an email invitation, were interviewed. The attitudes, beliefs and myths identified from the qualitative data are grouped into four themes: 'Moral acceptability of suicidal behaviour', 'Perceived causes and risk factors of suicidal behaviour', 'Perceived motives of suicidal behaviour', and 'Perceived prevention and protective factors of suicidal behaviour'. Besides these four themes, two underlying narratives are identified and discussed: (1) 'Apart or a part: Belonging and suicidal behaviour' is centred on the idea that perceiving oneself to be an integral part of a social system is protective against suicidal behaviour, while a thwarted sense of belonging increases vulnerability to suicidal behaviour. (2) 'Dying to be a man: (Re) negotiating masculinity and suicidal behaviour' is concerned with participants' views that men's relational position to hegemonic (socially most dominant) forms of masculinity is a factor in male suicidal behaviour. Participants regard hegemonic forms of masculinity to be both a part of the problem of suicidal behaviour and a potential solution to suicidal behaviour. These findings are interpreted through a social constructionist lens of gender as performance. Finally, implications of findings for future research, prevention and treatment are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Selfmoordgedrag is 'n ernstige openbare gesondheidsprobleem. Wêreldwyd en in Suid-Afrika is mans meer geneig as vrouens om selfmoord te pleeg. Tot op hede is daar min kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsing beskikbaar van jong manlike selfmoordgedrag in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie studie ondersoek die houdings, oortuiging en mites oor selfmoordgedrag van jong manlike studente. Dertien manlike universiteitstudente (ouderdomme 20 tot 25 jaar, met en sonder 'n geskiedenis van selfmoordgedrag) het vrywillig aan die huidige studie deel geneem in reaksie op 'n e-pos uitnodiging. Die houdings, oortuiging en mites wat vanaf die kwalitatiewe data geïdentifiseer is, is in vier temas gegroepeer: 'Morele aanvaarbaarheid van selfmoordgedrag', 'Siening van die oorsake en risiko faktore van selfmoordgedrag', 'Waargenome motiewe van selfmoordgedrag', en 'Waargenome voorkoming en beskermende faktore van selfmoordgedrag'. Naas hierdie vier temas, is twee onderliggende temas geïdentifiseer en bespreeek: (1) 'Samehorigheid en selfmoordgedrag' is gemoeid met die idee dat om 'n integrale deel van 'n sosiale sisteem te wees is beskermend teen selfmoordgedrag, terwyl 'n persepsie van isolasie tot selfmoordgedrag kan lei. (2) 'Onderhandeling van manlikheid en selfmoordgedrag' is gemoeid met die deelnemers se sienings dat mans se verhouding tot hegemoniese vorme (sosiaal mees dominante vorme) van manlikheid 'n faktor in manlike selfmoordgedrag is. Deelneemers beskou hegemoniese vorme van manlikheid as beide 'n deel van die probleem en 'n moontlike oplossing vir selfmoordgedrag. Hierdie bevindinge is geïnterpreteer deur middel van 'n sosiale konstruksionistiese lens van geslag as prestasie. Die implikasies van die bevindings vir toekomstige navorsing, voorkoming en behandeling word ten slotte bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80464
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