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Feasibility of railway suicide prevention strategies: A focus group study
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. (Folkhälsovetenskap)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. (Folkhälsovetenskap)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. (Folkhälsovetenskap)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0293-1795
2011 (English)In: Advances in safety, reliability and risk management / [ed] C. Bérenguer, A. Grall & G. C. Soares, CRC Press, 2011, p. 6-Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Suicide is a major public health concern, both nationally and internationally. In Sweden, more than 1200 people commit suicide every year, amounting to about 25% of all injury deaths. Five percent of these suicides occur on railways. From a railway safety perspective, suicide constitutes a clear majority (about 75%) of all Swedish railwayrelated fatalities. Several studies describe the frequency and characteristics of railway suicide in different countries. Some of them also discuss various preventative possibilities. However, fewer studies, if any, analyze and evaluate such strategies in more detail. In Sweden, a comprehensive research program in this field is now underway. The ultimate goal is to develop a set of preventative strategies against railway suicide that can be used by the railway transportation providers themselves, as an integral part of their regular safety work. The overall goal of this study is to explore preferences for preventative strategies against railway suicide among relevant professional groups. For the above purpose, a focus group approach was chosen. Focus group interview is a qualitative method based on group dynamics intended to gain non-quantitative in-depth understanding of a certain phenomenon, not obtainable from individual interviews. In total, 22 interviewees were selected and divided into four groups. Each interview session began with a brief presentation of the results so far accumulated from the ongoing research programme. Thus, all participants were given a common platform for the discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CRC Press, 2011. p. 6-
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2870DOI: 10.1201/b11939ISBN: 978-0-415-68379-1 (print)ISBN: 978-0-203-13510-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-2870DiVA, id: diva2:54477
Conference
THE EUROPEAN SAFETY AND RELIABILITY CONFERENCE, ESREL 2011,TROYES, FRANCE, 18–22 SEPTEMBER 2011
Available from: 2008-10-16 Created: 2008-10-16 Last updated: 2019-07-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Systeminriktad prevention av järnvägssjälvmord: Strategiutveckling i en svensk kontext
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Systeminriktad prevention av järnvägssjälvmord: Strategiutveckling i en svensk kontext
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Railway suicide constitutes a limited but significant fraction of all suicides, and a majority of all railway-related deaths, in Sweden as well as in many other countries. The aim of this thesis is to develop the scientific basis for the prevention of railway suicide, with special regard to knowledge and strategies within the reach of the railway system owners themselves.

An initial descriptive epidemiologic study showed that railway suicide episodes cluster in densely populated areas, and that victims often seem to await approaching trains for some time on or close to tracks before being hit. This means that preventive efforts can be prioritized to geographically limited areas and that there exists a time margin for early detection, forewarning, braking, rescuing, and the like. Secondly, a theoretical study was conducted in order to derive an overview of theoretically possible barriers aimed at preventing railway suicide. The approach is based on the comparison and synthesis of theories and models from suicidology and safety sciences applied to the railway suicide phenomenon. This led to a list of possible barriers, also intended as a checklist. This was followed by a multiple case study, where a number of authentic cases were analysed in-depth on the basis of investigation reports by the police and railway officials, plus complementary researcher observations from the actual sites of the suicide occurrences. The study revealed some deficiency in current investigation and reporting routines from a preventative viewpoint and indicated the potential for a broader and more systematic collection of prevention-relevant information in immediate connection with the events. Finally, a focus group study, involving safety practitioners from both the railway and other sectors, confirmed a general understanding and acceptance among practitioners of the theoretically derived principles, and a readiness to broaden the scope of railway safety to include approaches to prevent suicide.

In conclusion, it should be possible to influence the occurrence of railway suicides by means available within the railway transport system itself. A spectrum of possible alternative barriers is identified, as well as an, as yet, underutilized potential in the form of more systematic data collection and learning routines from actual events. Last but not least, there is a readiness among practitioners to incorporate these principles in regular railway safety work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2008. p. 74
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2008:34
Keywords
railway suicide, railway suicide prevention, barrier, accident analysis
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2871 (URN)978-91-7063-193-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-15, Nyqvistsalen, 9C 203, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-10-16 Created: 2008-10-16 Last updated: 2011-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Rådbo, HelenaRenck, BarbroAndersson, Ragnar

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