Corpse handlers in mortuaries are a distinct population, prone to the development of psychological challenges. Previous studies have linked their susceptibility to stressful work environments, characterized by recurrent confrontation with corpses. During the year 2016, 46 staff members at the state mortuary facility in Windhoek handled 4 347 human bodies, highlighting the frequency with which they make contact with human remains. Moreover, corpse handlers are frequently subjected to handling bodies that have suffered gruesome injuries and are often disfigured. Additionally, they often encounter the lifeless bodies of past acquaintances or family and friends. The above results from the Namibian law that prescribes that all the bodies of people who have died from unnatural (and often traumatic) circumstances as well as those deceased from mysterious causes are admitted to state facilities for autopsies.
Given the unique circumstances of Windhoek state corpse handlers, this study aimed to explore their experiences in order to identify their psychological stressors and coping strategies. Guided by a qualitative approach, a self-designed interview guide was used for data collection. Nine mortuary employees were asked to share their lived experiences. The purpose of the study was to obtain in-depth information about the personal perceptions of these workers relating to their psychological stressors and coping strategies. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted for data processing.
Corpse handlers were found to experience psychological stressors such as contact with human remains and stigma unique to their line of work. Furthermore, they were found to engage in coping strategies, including emotional coping, avoidance and escape, to negotiate the demands of those stressors.
The study results could be useful for advancing the development of coping and welfare promotion interventions for this population. Future research evaluating the effectiveness of coping strategies to promote the use of more effective strategies is necessary.
SSA, R (2021). The Psychological Stressors And Coping Strategies Of Corpse Handlers In Windhoek State Mortuaries. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/the-psychological-stressors-and-coping-strategies-of-corpse-handlers-in-windhoek-state-mortuaries
Research, SSA. "The Psychological Stressors And Coping Strategies Of Corpse Handlers In Windhoek State Mortuaries" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 28 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-psychological-stressors-and-coping-strategies-of-corpse-handlers-in-windhoek-state-mortuaries . Accessed 10 May. 2021.
Research, SSA. "The Psychological Stressors And Coping Strategies Of Corpse Handlers In Windhoek State Mortuaries". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 28 Apr. 2021. Web. 10 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/the-psychological-stressors-and-coping-strategies-of-corpse-handlers-in-windhoek-state-mortuaries >.
Research, SSA. "The Psychological Stressors And Coping Strategies Of Corpse Handlers In Windhoek State Mortuaries" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 10, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/the-psychological-stressors-and-coping-strategies-of-corpse-handlers-in-windhoek-state-mortuaries