• Henriëtte van den Berg University of the Free State
  • Hester Tancred University of the Free State
  • Dap Louw University of the Free State



adolescence, suicidal ideation, individual risk factors, social risk factors, Conservation of Resources theory


South African adolescents show increased levels of suicidal behaviour. This article explores the perceptions of adolescents at risk of suicide regarding the psychosocial stressors they believe contribute to suicidal behaviour among South African adolescents. This study was conducted on 214 adolescents from the Western Cape Province with a high suicide risk. The group was selected on the basis of their high scores on the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire. A qualitative content analysis was performed with their responses on a question about the reasons for adolescent suicide. The analysis highlighted risk factors relating to substance abuse, negative emotional experiences, lack of self-esteem, problem-solving ability and hope for the future; negative family environment and conflict in family relationships; peer group and romantic relationships; stressful life events; and socioeconomic factors. Guided by the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory suggestions were made for adolescent resource development to counter-act the impact of the various stressors they experience.


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How to Cite

van den Berg, Henriëtte, Hester Tancred, and Dap Louw. 2014. “ADOLESCENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF STRESSORS CONTRIBUTING TO SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 26 (2):192-213.



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