Investigating suicide as a career response

Journal article


Duff, Angus and Chan, Christopher. (2014). Investigating suicide as a career response. Career Development International. 19(1), pp. 4 - 26. https://doi.org/10.1108/cdi-04-2013-0040
AuthorsDuff, Angus and Chan, Christopher
Abstract

Purpose: To empirically consider work and career as potential influences of suicide.

Design/methodology/approach: In this qualitative study we conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 16 individuals who were survivors (i.e. family members or intimates) of individuals who had committed suicide. Data was analyzed using a grounded theory methodology.

Findings: This exploratory study used purposive self-determination as the theoretical framework for analyzing their life histories. Factors of purposive self-determination, including lack of purpose, feeling controlled, experiencing failure, and social exclusion all figured prominently but differentially according to life-stage. Distinct work and career themes for early-career, mid-career and late-career suicides emerged. Early-career suicides were attributed to educational or work-related contexts, leading to a sense of hopelessness. Mid-career suicides emphasized despair based in failure. Finally, an attempt to escape from challenges associated with transitioning roles in retirements emerged as a key theme in late-career suicides.

Originality/value: Although suicide has been studied extensively from medical, psychopathological, sociological, anthropological, philosophical and religious perspectives, there is a dearth of research considering why certain individuals choose to end their own lives as a result of work and career related reasons. This study sought to contribute to our understanding of this under-researched phenomenon. Additionally, while extant careers theory and research has considered positive notions of career such as career success or careers as a calling, this work presents an alternate lens, the consideration of career failure and careers as a sentence.

Year2014
JournalCareer Development International
Journal citation19 (1), pp. 4 - 26
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISSN1362-0436
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/cdi-04-2013-0040
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84898486336
Page range4 - 26
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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