Psychological strengths, stress and suicide ideation of correctional officials
Botha, Christoffel Jakobus
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Suicide ideation is a growing phenomenon that can be observed in stressful environments such as those of a correctional official, and it is a cause for concern. Suicide ideation is seen as the first step of suicidal behaviour and refers to thoughts, cognitions and overt intent to kill oneself. The root causes for correctional officials experiencing such a severe state of hopelessness that they feel death must be the only escape, can be ascribed to different factors. The objective of this research is to establish the relationship between psychological strengths, stress and suicide ideation of employees of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). Three concepts of psychological strength namely locus of control, sense of coherence and affect as independent variables, were compared, with suicide ideation as a dependant variable. The relationship between suicide ideation and stress as an independent variable was also established. A cross-sectional design was used. A simple random sample (n=157) was taken from correctional officers from a management area in the Freestate Province. The Work Locus of Control Scale, Orientation to Life Questionnaire, Affectometer 2, and the Adult Suicide Ideation Questionnaire were administered. In addition, the Correctional Officer Stress Inventory was developed and administered. Principal component and factor extraction with Oblique rotation, Cronbach alpha and inter-item correlation coefficients, factor analysis, a discriminant analysis and a stepwise multiple regression analysis were used to analyse the data. Results showed that positive affect and external locus of control were associated with suicide ideation.