19 April 2016 Volume :4 Issue :17

Suicidal Behaviour in SA Police Services Subject of Master’s Degree Research

Suicidal Behaviour in SA Police Services Subject of Master’s Degree Research
Ms Manoko Mogoroga.

Suicidal behaviour in the South African Police Services (SAPS) was the subject of research for a master’s degree by Ms Manoko Mogorogaa Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Mororoga was awarded her degree in Counselling Psychology during a UKZN Graduation ceremony.

Mogoroga says she had been concerned about the reported increased rate of suicide in the SAPS so chose to focus her master’s thesis on this in the hope of the results generating a better understanding of suicidal behaviour among police officers in South Africa and to possibly open new ways of designing intervention programmes to improve working conditions and coping strategies for police officers.

According to Mogoroga, a wide body of research shows the stress police work under and how it affects them on multiple personal levels. ‘Faced with stressful experiences, police officers learn to adapt by incorporating various coping strategies. The study examined the relationship between suicidal ideation and coping strategies in a sample of 125 police officers in KwaZulu-Natal.’

The findings indicated that alcohol use correlated positively with suicide ideation. ‘Previous studies show that high alcohol consumption among police members is a major problem. This shows that there is a need for future studies to examine whether high amounts of alcohol consumption lead to thoughts about suicide or whether suicide ideation leads to high alcohol consumption.

‘This finding also proposes that prevention efforts aimed at reducing rates of suicide ideation should target these coping strategies. Also, the percentage of female police officers was low (31%) compared to the male percentage (68%). Despite this stated discrepancy, results showed that female police officers obtained a higher mean score on suicidal ideation than male officers,’ said Mogoroga.

‘The strength I got from God and the support I received from my family, friends, supervisor and colleagues made a huge difference in my studies, especially when my brother died.’

To her support system of family, friends, supervisor and colleagues, she said: ‘Thank you so much. I love you all. May the Almighty God continue to bless you. To my late brother, it’s unfortunate that you can’t celebrate with me. Nonetheless, this thesis is dedicated to you.’

Mogoroga plans to enrol for her PhD and conduct further research in the area of suicide within the South African context.

Melissa Mungroo

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