Social injury: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the attitudes towards suicide of lay persons in Ghana
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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One way of furthering our understanding of suicidal behaviour is to examine people’s attitudes towards it and how they conceive the act. The aim of this study was to understand how lay persons conceive the impact of suicide on others and how that influences their attitudes towards suicide; and discuss the implications for suicide prevention in Ghana. This is a qualitative study, using a semi-structured interview guide to investigate the attitudes and views of 27 lay persons from urban and rural settings in Ghana. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings showed that the perceived breach of interrelatedness between people due to suicidal behaviour influenced the informants’ view of suicide as representing a social injury. Such view of suicide influenced the negative attitudes the informants expressed towards the act. The negative attitudes towards suicide in Ghana are cast in consequential terms. Thus, suicide is an immoral act because it socially affects others negatively. The sense of community within the African ethos and The Moral Causal Ontology for Suffering are theoretical postulations that are used to offer some explanations of the findings in this study.