مرده بهتر از بی آبرویی: مردسالاری و رفتار خودکشی مردان در کشور امروز غنا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36310||2012||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7136 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Social Science & Medicine, Volume 74, Issue 4, February 2012, Pages 474–481
In Ghana reliable official data on suicidal behavior are not available. There is also limited empirical research on suicidal behavior in the country. At the same time, police-recorded suicide data, media reports, and communication from professionals in the field indicate that suicidal behavior is a growing problem. To identify current patterns and meanings of male suicidal behavior in Ghana, the study examined official police data spanning 2006–2008. This investigation revealed that reported cases of fatal and nonfatal suicidal behavior overwhelmingly involved males. Furthermore, the majority of males who engaged in suicidal acts did so to deal with feelings of shame and dishonor of variable sources. Findings suggest changing the rigid dichotomization associated with male-female gender roles and socialization that emphasize masculinity ideals in Ghana and the need for increased research and the promotion of counseling for males facing emotional stress.
Suicidal behavior has been extensively investigated (Goldsmith et al., 2002 and Wasserman and Wasserman, 2009). Clearly, the existing literature has contributed to the understanding of trends, patterns, etiology, prevention and treatment of suicidal behavior. A major limitation of the suicidology literature, however, is the paucity of research and information on suicidality across Africa (Lester, 2008). Although a few scholarly studies have recently been conducted in South Africa (Meel, 2006), Tanzania (Ndosi, Mbonde, & Lyamuya, 2004) and Uganda (Kinyanda, Hjelmeland, & Musisi, 2004), overall, the volume of research on suicidality in Africa remains relatively small. A primary factor for this inattention is the limited availability of reliable data. At present, most African countries do not record or report their suicide data. The dearth of information on suicidal behavior in African societies is regrettable. First, suicide is a growing public health problem in many African countries (Schlebusch & Burrows, 2009). Second, lack of detailed epidemiological data on suicidal behavior, in a continent that constitutes one-sixth of the world’s population, hampers the efforts of suicidologists to achieve a full understanding of suicidality. Third, the formulation and implementation of appropriate intervention programs for suicidal behavior are contingent upon the successful identification of suicide risk and protective factors through appropriate research and systematic data collection (Schlebusch & Burrows, 2009). To contribute to the suiciodology literature in general and research on Africa’s suicidal behavior in particular, this study analyzed the scope and patterns of suicidal behavior in Ghana, West Africa. Official police data, media reports and communication from professionals in the field, as well as the general public indicate that suicidal behavior is a growing problem in Ghana (Glover, 2008 and Odame, 2008). The number of suicidal acts reported to the Ghana Police Service increased from 63 in 2006 to 114 in 2008. In July 2008, public interest in suicidal behavior increased following the suicide of a 55-year-old Ghanaian physician. The ensuing media attention focused on the improbability of a prosperous, prominent professional dying in this way, implying that the wealthy and educated are automatically equipped with resources necessary for coping with the challenges and stresses of life. Shortly afterwards, the Network for Anti-Suicide and Crisis Intervention, a Ghana-based NGO, expressed concern about escalating cases of suicide in the country and urged stakeholders to assist the organization in halting the trend ( GhanaWeb, 2008). Despite the surging concern, there is a dearth of empirical research on suicidal behavior in Ghana. An examination of the scholarly literature revealed that, to date, while a few published works have focused on suicide ideation among Ghanaian students and emigrants (Eshun, 2006 and Hjelmeland et al., 2008), only one published work has explored the nature and patterns of suicide in Ghana (Sefa-Dedeh & Canetto, 1992). Continued systematic analyses are necessary to fully understand Ghanaian suicidal behavior, to develop culturally-relevant suicide prevention and treatment strategies, and to potentially lessen its incidence in the country.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The foregoing exploration of suicidal behavior in contemporary Ghana indicates that men resort to suicidal acts to deal with extreme shame stemming from such myriad factors as sexual impotence and imminent criminal prosecution. Additionally, several males who perceived themselves as failing to meet their culturally prescribed masculine roles also resorted to suicide to deal with the potential recriminations of such failure. The constant exhortation that males be strong, resilient and independent and to avoid any show of vulnerability and emotional weakness often means that there are few, if any, social outlets and support systems for males to utilize to deal with a range of emotional stressors. Moreover, within Ghanaian constructions of masculinity, men are not granted an emotional expressiveness that allows them to seek assistance with personal challenges and emotional support during crises. In the absence of mental health services or informal sources of support, coupled with unrelenting expectations of masculine economic success and independence, for some men, the only option to deal with variable sources of shame is suicide. A couple of limitations of the study must be acknowledged. First, the three-year timeframe covered in this study limits the generalizability of the findings. Another methodological limitation is that police-recorded data on suicidal behavior may underestimate the true scope of the phenomenon. Despite these limitations, the study contributes to the literature on suicidality in Africa. It provides important insights and a good starting point for broader investigations of the relationship between gender and suicidal behavior in Ghana. In conclusion, the findings of the research demonstrate how gender norms and the pursuit of masculinity ideals impact suicidal behavior among Ghanaian males. The challenge, then, is how to reduce male suicidal behavior. One solution would be to change gender socialization patterns. Agents of socialization, from families to schools, must convey to young males the benefits of emotional expression for mental and physical well-being. These institutions should also counter views that deem it unmanly to seek formal and informal sources of support to alleviate emotional distress. Professional counseling services should be expanded, along with campaigns that promote counseling as an acceptable option for males. Moreover, males should be educated about the health risks associated with the unfettered pursuit of such prized symbols of masculinity as financial success and sexual prowess. Public educational campaigns could challenge the rigid dichotomization that defines an oppositional male and female nature, and debunk exaggerated male traits. Another solution is to repudiate such commonly articulated maxims as “better dead than dishonored” in Ghanaian society. Taken literally, these suggest a tacit approval of suicidal behavior for dealing with shame and humiliation. There is also a need for more systematic data collection and sustained research to help identify the complex etiology of male suicidal behavior in Ghana. Qualitative research that includes interviews with suicidal men will help identify both risk and protective factors for suicidal behavior and facilitate the development and implementation of preventive measures.