A comparative study of youth attitudes to teenage suicide in Norway and South Africa : suicide, a permanent solution to a temporary problem!
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This research is a comparative study of the youths' views towards teenage suicide in Bodø, Norway and Durban, South Africa. The increase in self-destructive behaviour among teenagers was of concern in both countries. This study provides an insight into youths' understanding of the causes of suicide and their prevention strategies. A variety of data gathering techniques was used within the focus group to elicit perception and attitudes from participants in a less threatening way. Their opinions on this subject were then analysed. The qualitative nature of this study allowed the participants to contribute to a better understanding of the subject matter. This was used as an empowement to01 for the youth as gains in knowledge; confidence and engagement become a source of power. The findings highlight the similarities and differences in the perceptions and attitudes of youth towards teenage suicide in both countries. It was assumed that the existing cultural, economic and social differences between South Afiica and Norway would be reflected in the results. It was therefore interesting to see such a large similarities in attitudes in both countries. The findings indicate that youths in both countries have a basic understanding of causes and prevention of teenage suicide. These were, to some degree, consistent with findings and prevention strategies outlined in literature. However, one can question the efficacy of these strategies as specific prevention methods for suicide since they primarily deal with general suggestions to increase positive experiences of the youth. There are two important findings in this study: the strong influence of cultural factors and the link between internal and external causes of suicide. These findings confinn some of the perceived views held by people on teenage suicide. Empowennent was an underlying factor in this study. By actively encouraging their participation in identifying and formulating solutions, we have been able to formulate solutions that are more acceptable to the youths. The importance of equipping teenagers with the ability to cope with adverse situations that can becoine potentially dangerous or life threatening was seen as a crucial aspect in preventing suicide. In designing prevention strategies effectively, it is necessary to acknowledge the multi-dimension nature of factors within a cultural context.
Mastergradsoppgave i "Comparative social work" - Høgskolen i Bodø, 2006