Living in a maze

Health, well-being and coping in young non-western men in Scandinavia experiencing substance abuse and suicidal behaviour.


The aim of the study was to illuminate and interpret the lived experiences of emigration, substance abuse and suicidal behaviour in young non-western men in Scandinavia.

The research questions were formulated as:

  1. How is meaning constructed in the narratives?
  2. What impact do these experiences have on health, well-being and coping?

Data were collected using open-ended in-depth interviews. A phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, inspired by the philosophy of Ricoeur, was used to analyse the data.

The naïve reading involved awareness of the participants’ perceived sense of insecurity in life. The structural analysis identified three themes:

  1. the meaning of getting in a tight spot
  2. the meaning of being in a fog
  3. the meaning of the burning bed. 

A comprehensive understanding of the data was formulated as ‘‘living in a maze’’. Ill health involved having a sense of liminality, which impaired one’s possibilities to define and re-define goals. Substance abuse and suicidal behaviour were explicit expressions of not being well, when living in a maze that was perceived as closed. Both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping were used by the participants. These provided the motivation for substance abuse and suicidal behaviour.

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Av Stian Bioing
Publisert 26. apr. 2011 13:36 - Sist endret 22. juni 2011 11:32