Female suicidal behaviour: Initiation, cessation and prevention
Curtis, C. (2003). Female suicidal behaviour: Initiation, cessation and prevention (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13428
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13428
This thesis explores non-fatal suicidal behaviour in young women. The approach taken is qualitative in orientation. The central form of data collection was the semi-structured interview. Interviews were conducted with key informants, including counsellors, clinicians and social workers and with women who had engaged in suicidal behaviour. The primary focus of the research was to explore the narratives of women who had engaged in suicidal behaviour, to contextualise their insights, understand their experiences and to examine the meanings of events leading to, and implicated in the recovery from, suicidal behaviour. This material demonstrates the importance of gender in suicidal behaviour and cessation as well as highlighting the limitations of many available therapeutic settings. A key finding of the research is the confirmation of sexual abuse as a common precursor to suicidal behaviour, especially when in conjunction with other, mainly familial, risk factors and an absence of protective factors. More significantly, the women noted that the effects of sexual abuse were exacerbated by problems with disclosure. Issues of control emerged as key to both suicidal behaviour and cessation, relating to family circumstance, abuse, disclosure of abuse and efficacy of forms of intervention. In contrast to the literature which suggests that any movement of self-harming behaviours is along a continuum from the less to more severe, the data gathered in this research suggests an episodic, or punctuated, pattern of behaviour, in which the protagonist moves between self-mutilation and suicidal behaviour. These findings problematise the notion of self-mutilation and suicidal behaviour as somewhat distinct behaviours. More generally, the material gathered from the women emphasizes the multi-causal and complex aspects of suicidal behaviour. The complexity of lived experience has implications for effective intervention and prevention strategies. Many of the women stressed the problematic nature of the forms of intervention they were able to access. Indeed, some regarded their experiences of intervention as reinforcing their feelings of lack of control This was largely confirmed by analysis of the interviews with key informants.
The University of Waikato
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