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Title: Creation and defence of a suicidal death : a qualitative study of the aftermath of university students' suicides from the perspective of their friends
Author: Mallon, Sharon
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2009
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Creation and defence of a suicidal death is a study of the aftermath of self inflicted death in young adults, from the perspective of their friends. Suicide is a leading cause of death among young adults. Those who die in youth are likely to be engaged in an extended social network and thus the impact of their death may be particularly widespread. Research on the aftermath of suicide has largely focused on the experiences of family members. Research with friends of those who die has tended to be quantitative in nature and has been principally concerned with the relationship between exposure to a peer's suicide and risk of suicidal ideation in those left behind. By contrast, this study aimed to illuminate how friends of young adults who ended their life while they were a student at university understood their experience. The analysis had a particular focus on how suicidal deaths are conceptualised and reacted to. Qualitative methodology informed the study design and the principles of phenomenology were employed to gain rich insight into this under explored group. Semi-structured interviews based loosely on a series of topics were undertaken, and in total twelve young adults were interviewed. The results of the analysis focused on the experiences described in relation to the suicidal death. The findings show that the experiences of this group were complex and contradictory; however, four core areas were identified as shaping the experiences of participants. These were participants' descriptions of labelling their friends' death as a suicide; their experiences in trying to identify an explanation for the suicide; the explanations they rejected and those they eventually offered for the death; and their own personal reaction to the suicide. Links between these categories and wider representations of suicide are discussed and a series of suggestions made for how these both enable and constrain the experience of bereavement by suicide. The study concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for practice and a series of suggestions are made about how this study may inform further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social work