Coping, stress and suicide ideation in the South African Police Services in Mpumalanga
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Relatively high numbers of suicides occur in the South African Police Services. However, little is known about suicide ideation within the SAPS. The objective of this research was to determine the relationship between coping and stress on the one hand and suicide ideation among police members on the other hand. A cross-sectional design was used. The study population (N = 176) consisted of uniformed police members in Mpumdanga. The Adult Suicide Ideation Questionnaire, Police Stress inventory and COPE Questionnaire were used as measuring instruments. Descriptive statistics (e.g. means, standard deviations, skewness and kurtosis) and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data Cronbach Alpha Coefficients, inter-item correlation coefficients and confirmatory factor analysis were used to assess the reliability and validity of the measuring instruments. A discriminant analysis was conducted to determine which variables discriminate the bet between police members with a high and those with a low level of suicide ideation The results showed that 12 (7,32%) of the uniformed police members bad significant suicide ideation levels. The discriminant analysis showed that medical status, rank, previous suicide attempts, coping-passive and gender correctly classified 75% of the participants who scored high on suicide ideation. A relationship was found between the frequency of suicide ideation and the likelihood of suicide attempts. An association was also found between gender and suicide ideation Problems like paper-work, staff shortages and poor equipment can be identified as situational factors contributing to the stress levels of police members in Mpumdanga. A relationship was found between coping and stress on the one hand and suicide ideation on the other hand. The results obtained in this study could help to identify the intensity and frequency of specific stressors (especially police stressors). Recommendations for future research are made.