An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the lived experience of suicidal behaviour

McDermott, Laura (2016) An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the lived experience of suicidal behaviour. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In Scotland, suicide prevention is a major public health challenge, with two people, on average, dying every day due to suicide. Any efforts to prevent suicide should be aided by research. Existing research on suicide is dominated by quantitative research that has largely focused on providing explanatory accounts of suicidal phenomena. Research providing rich and detailed accounts of suicidal behaviour among individuals who have directly experienced it is growing but remains relatively embryonic. This study sought to supplement existing understanding of attempted suicide specifically by exploring the processes, meaning and context of suicidal experiences among individuals with a history of attempted suicide.

The study used a retrospective qualitative design with semi-structured in-depth interviews. Participants were patients (n=7) from a community mental health service in Glasgow, Scotland who had attempted suicide within the previous 12-month period. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analysed for recurrent themes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).

Three super-ordinate themes, each with inter-related sub-themes, emerged from the analysis. 1) “Intentions”: This theme explored different motives for suicide, including providing relief from upsetting feelings; a way of establishing control; and a means of communicating with others. 2) “The Suicidal Journey”: This theme explored how individuals’ thinking can change when they are suicidal, including feeling overwhelmed by a build-up of distress and a narrowing of their perspective. 3) “Suicidal Dissonance”: This theme explored how people can feel conflicted about suicide and can be fearful of the consequences of their suicidal behaviour.

Participants’ accounts were dominated by experience of significant adversity and psychological suffering. These accounts provided valuable insights into the suicidal process, highlighting implications for clinical practice and future research.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Suicide, suicide attempt, qualitative, interpretative phenomenological analysis.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: O'Connor, Professor Rory
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Miss L McDermott
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7569
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 15:19
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2016 12:06

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