Alcohol and suicide in postconflict Northern Uganda: A qualitative psychological autopsy study
Kizza, D., Hjelmeland, H., Kinyanda, E., & Knizek, B.L.
Background: Alcohol has been noted to be an important factor in nearly 68% of the suicides in Northern Uganda, yet exactly how alcohol contributes to suicide in this region has not been studied. Aims: To determine how alcohol contributes to suicide in this region. Methods: Qualitative psychological autopsy interviews were conducted with bereaved relatives and friends of 20 suicides mainly from Internally Displaced Peoples’ camps in Northern Uganda. Data were analyzed using a modified Interpretative Phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Alcohol had a direct or an indirect influence on the suicide of 16 out of the 20 decedents. Directly, alcohol facilitated the suicidal process, was a means to suicide, or had an influence on the decedents’ lifestyles. Indirectly, alcohol had an influence on the suicidal process of the deceased through the drinking behavior of significant others. Conclusions: This study established that alcohol not only contributes to the suicidal process of the individuals through acute and chronic alcohol consumption, but also through victimization of those lowest in the power hierarchy by alcohol abusers higher up in the power hierarchy. Therefore, future development of suicide prevention programs should address the interrelated public health problem of alcohol abuse.