Heaven can wait: studies on suicidal behaviour among young people in Nicaragua
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
In developed countries, suicidal behaviour is recognised as a significant public health problem among young people, but there are few studies from developing countries on this subject. The present thesis aims at estimating the extent of the problem and at exploring factors related to suicidal behaviour among young people in a developing country, Nicaragua, using a combined quantitative and qualitative approach. Three studies were conducted between 1999 and 2006. In the first study, all hospital admitted suicide attempt cases in the area of León were assessed over a three year period. Secondly, a qualitative study using individual in-depth interviews was conducted with eight girls aged between 12 and 19 admitted to hospital after attempting suicide. Thirdly, a study using the Attitudes Towards Suicides (ATTS) questionnaire was conducted in a community based sample of 278 young people aged 15-24 years to assess own suicidal behaviours, attitudes towards suicide as well as exposure to suicidal behaviour among significant others.
The hospital surveillance showed that suicide attempt rates were highest among females in the age group 15-19 years with a female rate three times that of males (302.9 versus 98.9 per 100,000 inhabits per year). Drug intoxication and pesticides were the most commonly used methods for the attempts. A consistent seasonal variation with peaks in May-June and September-October was found in each of the three years, possibly related to exam periods in schools.
Findings in the qualitative approach led to a tentative model for pathways to suicidal behaviour based on four main categories: Structuring conditions, triggering events, emotions and action taken. Dysfunctional families, lack of confidential and trustworthy contacts and interpersonal conflicts followed by emotions of shame and anger were some important components in the model.
The community studies showed that suicidal expressions (life-weariness, death wishes, suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts) were common among young people where more than 44.8% of males and 47.4% of females reported some kind of suicidal expression. Gender differences were small. Exposure to suicidal behaviour among others was associated with higher levels of self-reported suicidal behaviour. The attitude study showed that boys had less pro-preventive attitudes than girls, possibly indicating their higher risk for completed suicide. Exposure to suicidal behaviour and own suicidal behaviour showed an association with specific patterns of attitudes.
The findings should be taken into consideration when planning for prevention of suicidal behaviour among young people in a developing country like Nicaragua.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Klinisk vetenskap , 2006. , 41 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1067
suicide attempts, suicidal expressions, attitudes towards suicide, young people, Nicaragua
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-944ISBN: 91-7264-213-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-944DiVA: diva2:145149
2006-12-14, Sal A, By 23 NUS, Psykiatriska kliniken NUS, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Rutz, Wolfgang, Professor
Kullgren, Gunnar, ProfSalander Renberg, Ellinor, Docent
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