Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Andrew Guilfoyle

Abstract

In the literature, both statistics and studies have noted that suicide in rural/regional young adults' is an important concern. Recent research suggests, that to facilitate a primary approach to suicide prevention in young people, there is a need to promote the protective construct of resilience at a community level, highlighting strategies such as connectedness, and decreasing the stigma related to mental illness and health-seeking behaviour (Commonwealth Department of Health & Aged Care, 2005; Injury Control Council of Western Australia, 2006). However, there is a need to investigate and identify the links or mediating factors that promote individual resilience within a person, in relation to broad community-interventions (Niner et al., 2009). Therefore, this phenomenological study undertaken within a rural/regional context, explored resilience and how this may protect in regard to the problem of suicide among young adults'. Specifically, the experiences and perceptions of young adults' and those that work with youth in a rural setting were explored, to aid identifying how young adults' define resilience to the problem of suicide, and discover what community strategies are needed within rural/regional areas, to promote resilience for young adults'. Ten informants, 7 young adults ( 4 female and 3 male) and 3 older adults, located in rural/regional areas in the South West of Western Australia; volunteered to participate in a semi-structured interview, exploring the construct of resilience and how this may protect in regard to the problem of suicide. The semi-structured interviews were analysed at both an individual level for each informant and a higher level of generalisation, to aid in the identification and extraction of themes and sub-themes from the complete data (Becker, 1992). Five major themes were identified as a result, which informants' perceived to be important to defining or promoting resilience within the context of suicide. These included; support, awareness of internal processes, stepping stones, acceptance, and suicide education. These findings suggest that individual, relational, contextual and cultural aspects are important factors for rural young adults' experiences and perceptions of resilience, especially when considered within the context of suicide. Thus, supporting Ungar and colleague's (2007) perspective of resilience, which emphasises the importance of both an individual's abilities, and the capacity of an individual's ecology to provide the resources needed to promote resilience and well-being.

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