Studies focusing on adolescent suicide in Arab countries are particularly scarce, with the few available undertaken from within an epidemiological paradigm.
This study aimed to understand Jordanian adolescents’ perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes toward suicide.
A qualitative design using 12 dual-moderator focus group discussions was conducted in public schools. Participants were selected from the three main regions of the country (rural southern, urban central, and suburban northern). Participants included Jordanian adolescent boys and girls, aged 14–17 years, who reported experiencing mild to moderate depressive symptoms. A relational content analysis approach was used for coding data, and a content analysis was used to identify salient thematic categories. Data were analyzed using NVivo software.
Four themes emerged, including perceived risk factors, perceived protective factors, active and passive suicidal ideations, and e-games and Internet influences. Main risk factors were depression; anxiety; stigma, shame, and isolation; family issues; life pressures; and guilt. Conversely, religiosity, perceived positive family functioning, and availability of long-term goals seemed to confer resilience to adolescents’ suicidal ideation and behavior. Passive suicidality (having death wishes without any plans to complete suicide) was noticed most among participants who feared jeopardizing the family’s reputation if they committed suicide. Several boys with active suicidal ideations used the Blue Whale Challenge e-game to learn how to complete suicide and relinquish their problems.
Suicide is a multifactorial problem requiring multimodal strategies. Evidence from this research suggests that those most passionate about the outcome of interest are encouraged to redouble efforts to reduce modifiable risk factors, enrich protective factors, target the underlying psychiatric illness that informs suicidal ideations and behavior, and research the effect of social media and Internet activity more deeply. Parents are advised to monitor the online activities of their children and familiarize themselves with the digital applications they use.