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Drivers and consequences of self-immolation in parts of Iran, Iraq and Uzbekistan: a systematic review of qualitative evidence


Cleary, M and Singh, J and West, S and Rahkar Farshi, M and Lopez, V and Kornhaber, R, Drivers and consequences of self-immolation in parts of Iran, Iraq and Uzbekistan: a systematic review of qualitative evidence, Burns, 47, (1) pp. 25-34. ISSN 0305-4179 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.burns.2019.08.007


Objectives: The prevalence of self-immolation is significantly higher in some Middle Eastern and Central Asian Islamic countries than in Western countries. Self-immolation typically occurs among females and can be either an attempt at suicide or an act of protest. This systematic review examined the drivers and consequences of self-immolation in Asian Islamic countries from the perspective of those affected by it, including survivors, family and health care staff in order to understand its higher prevalence in these countries.

Method: A systematic review of qualitative studies was conducted in June 2018, using five electronic databases: PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, Scopus and PsycINFO. Of the 236 papers identified, seven met the inclusion criteria. Authors independently rated the reporting of included qualitative studies and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.

Results: The drivers of self-immolation included marital and familial conflict, male-dominated culture, mental health disorders and economic and social factors. Survivors chose self-immolation in order to express their sense of a lack of control and mostly utilised this method due to its accessibility. The consequences of self-immolation were social isolation, regret, and physical and psychological impacts.

Conclusions: The reasons for self-immolation, its prevalence and the demographics of those who choose this means vary significantly between Asian Islamic and Western countries. This review confirmed the impact of culture, tradition, and societal structures and relationships on people's decisions to self-immolate. Education about the consequences of self-immolation may reduce the use of this method.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:self-immolation, burns, psychosocial, qualitative, systematic review
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
UTAS Author:Singh, J (Mr Jaskaran Singh)
UTAS Author:West, S (Dr Sancia West)
UTAS Author:Lopez, V (Professor Violeta Lopez)
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, R (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
ID Code:136598
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2020-01-10
Last Modified:2021-06-30

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