Coping, stress and suicide ideation in the South African Police Service in the Gauteng Province
Swanepoel, Caren Madelein
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Suicidal behaviour is one of the most tragic events in human life causing serious emotional, spiritual, medical, social and psychological distress for individuals, family and fiends. In addition, it imposes a great economic problem for the individual, family, and society. In the South African Police Service an alarming rate of 4 per 10 000 suicides has been indicated in previous years. Due to the escalation of suicide rates it is regarded as a major public health concern. Several studies have been done regarding suicide and law enforcement agencies but few regarding suicide ideation in law enforcement agencies. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship among coping, stress and suicide ideation of police officials in the Gauteng Province within the SAPS. A cross-sectional survey design was used. A random, stratifies sample was taken from police officials in the Gauteng Province (n = 266). The Adult Suicide Ideation Questionnaire, Police Stress Inventory, the COPE Questionnaire and a biographical questionnaire were administered. The results of this study indicated that the factors that predict suicide ideation best are the following: a previous suicide attempt, passive coping styles, to be charged in terms of the disciplinary code, medical conditions and gender. The results also indicated that 9,02% of the sample showed significant levels of suicide ideation. Recommendations for future research were made.