An investigation into the role of alcohol in self-harm in rural Sri Lanka: a protocol for a multimethod, qualitative study

Jane Brandt Sørensen, Thilde Rheinländer, Birgitte Refslund Sørensen, Melissa Pearson, Thilini Agampodi, Sisira Siribaddana, Flemming Konradsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

INTRODUCTION: Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide and self-harm rates in the world and although alcohol has been found to be a risk factor for self-harm in Sri Lanka, we know little about the connection between the two. This paper comprises a protocol for a qualitative study investigating alcohol's role in self-harm in rural Sri Lanka at three levels: the individual, community and policy level. The analysis will bring new understanding of the link between alcohol and self-harm in Sri Lanka, drawing on structural, cultural and social concepts. It will equip researchers, health systems and policy makers with vital information for developing strategies to address alcohol-related problems as they relate to self-harm.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: To capture the complexity of the link between alcohol and self-harm in the Anuradhapura district in the North Central Province in Sri Lanka, qualitative methods will be utilised. Specifically, the data will consist of serial narrative life-story interviews with up to 20 individuals who have non-fatally self-harmed and where alcohol directly or indirectly was involved in the incidence as well as with their significant others; observations in communities and families; six focus group discussions with community members; and key-informant interviews with 15-25 stakeholders who have a stake in alcohol distribution, marketing, policies, prevention and treatment as they relate to self-harm.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has received ethical approval from the Ethical Review Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka. A sensitive data collection technique will be used and ethical issues will be considered throughout the study.

RESULTS: The results will be disseminated in scientific peer-reviewed articles in collaboration with Sri Lankan and other international research partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e005860
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suicide
  • Journal Article


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