oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - Non-fatal suicidal behaviour in South Africa: a study of patients of African descent

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1433-0237



Little published research exists on non-fatal suicidal behaviour amongst persons of African descent this investigation sampled 82 patients of African descent who presented with non-fatal suicidal behaviour at psychological clinics in general hospitals in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa). Over half of the sample engaged in suicidal behaviour over the weekend. Significantly more adolescents than adults ingested medicinal substances, and significantly more adults than adolescents used violent methods in their non-fatal suicidal behaviour. Interpersonal conflict was cited as a short term precipitant to non-fatal suicidal behaviour in most of the cases. Financial stressors and employment difficulties were predominantly cited as recent stressors to non-fatal suicidal behaviour amongst adults. The findings demonstrate similar demographic and psychosocial correlates of non-fatal suicidal behaviour amongst Africans as other cultural groups in South Africa. The hypothesised effects of Apartheid and acculturation are discussed.

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