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

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Jane Brandt Sørensen, Thilde Rheinländer, Birgitte Refslund Sørensen, Melissa Pearson, Thilini Agambodi, Sisara Siribaddana, Flemming Konradsen

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 selfharm
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 selfharmed
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
JournalB M J Open
Volume4
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
ISSN2044-6055
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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