An investigation into the relationship between coping strategies and suicidal ideation in a South African sample of male adolescents.
Adolescence is generally regarded as a time of developmental change in all aspects: physical, emotional and psychological. This change is difficult and stressful for the adolescent to comprehend and assimilate into their way of being. During these times of developmental change and stress the manner in which the adolescent chooses to or learns to cope with the various stressors they face can be a signifier of things to come. In other words, coping strategies that an individual chooses to use, be they functional or maladaptive, may inform their future. This study’s focus is the relationship between an individual’s ability to cope and his level of suicidal ideation, and explores whether these two variables are related. In South Africa, and throughout the world, there is a trend of a greater number of younger people engaging in suicidal behaviour than previously and research into any and all aspects of this phenomenon is thus valuable. Many hypotheses have been proposed and there are many related factors that need to be considered. A quantitative approach was used to examine the relationship between coping strategies and suicidal ideation. The Coping Across Situations Questionnaire and the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire were administered to a sample of adolescent males at a co-educational high school in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The results determined that there is a significant, positive relationship between maladaptive coping strategies and high levels of suicidal ideation, that demographic variables such as grade and race seem to have some impact on this relationship and that further investigation is necessary into the relationship between adaptive coping skills and low levels of suicidal ideation.