Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) A Renewed Commitment to Life: A Grounded Theory Study of Suicide Attempts in Badakhshan (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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423P (WITHDRAWN) A Renewed Commitment to Life: A Grounded Theory Study of Suicide Attempts in Badakhshan

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Shahnaz Savani, PhD, Lecturer, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Background and Purpose

Suicide is a serious and complex problem facing the world. Most suicides occur in Asia, yet research has predominately studied suicide in the West. Suicide in the Central Asian countries is poorly researched.

Study objectives: 1) Describe the lived experiences of suicide in Badakhshan; 2) identify the factors that contributed to the suicide attempt.

Methods: The present study is an exploratory qualitative study on the phenomenon of suicide in Badakhshan, Tajikistan using a constructivist grounded theory methodology. Data collection was conducted over a period of two months in Badakhshan, Tajikistan. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 participants (7 female and 5 male) who had attempted suicide. Interviews were conversational in style and conducted in the native language of the participants.

Results: Data from interviews, observations, field notes and reflections represented three core categories of 1) Experiencing extreme hardship, 2) Getting help; and 3) Factors associated with suicide.

Experiencing extreme hardship included concepts of no job income, working hard but not having enough, harsh life conditions, and everybody is poor. Participants spoke candidly about their experiences with extreme hardship and how they struggled in their day to day lives to meet their basic needs. Struggles were varied and with no easy solutions in sight. The concept of getting help was a significant category in the data and included the concepts of who can help, who should help, no help available and needing help but not asking for help. Most participants did not seek help until their situation became desperate, while others never sought help at all. Collectively, participants’ struggles with the unacceptability of seeking help and qualifiers around who can actually help put restrictions on seeking and receiving help for individuals in suicidal crisis. Most participants had strong family connections and family support, yet, were not able to seek help for their suicidal crisis. Factors associated with suicide, usually conceptualized as risk and protective factors were clearly identified in the data. Factors associated with suicide in Badakhshan included having easy access to means of suicide, impulsivity, unsurmountable problems, transcendental experiences, the resolve to keep going, and having a moral stance on suicide. Thus, the emerging grounded theory—a renewed commitment to life—reflects a process of enduring the experience of making and surviving a suicide attempt in the context of Badakhshan.

Conclusions and Implications: This study is the first to examine suicide in the socio-religious-cultural context of Badakhshan and provides a glimpse into lived experiences of suicide in Badakhshan. It also lays the foundation for intervention research to be initiated in this region.