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The social construction of gender and its influence on suicide: a review of the literature

Payne, Sarah and Swami, Viren and Stanistreet, Debbi (2008) The social construction of gender and its influence on suicide: a review of the literature. Journal of Men's Health, 5 (1). pp. 23-35. ISSN 1875-6867

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jomh.2007.11.002

Abstract

In developed Western societies, it is well known that more men than women commit suicide each year, whereas women are more likely to be involved in suicide attempts. Despite these differences, public policies in the West have tended to treat gender as a descriptive, rather than causal, factor in suicidal behaviours. However, differences between socially constructed masculinities and femininities may impact on suicide-related behaviours and help explain gender differences in both behaviours and outcome. This literature review considers suicide through the lens of gender, drawing on a social constructionist perspective to explain differences between women and men in suicidal behaviour. In particular it focuses on individual and life history factors, social and community variables and living and working conditions. It will be argued that suicide-related behaviours, like health-behaviours more generally, are influenced by (and influence) demonstrations of masculinities and femininities. Finally, it will explore how a gendered view of suicidal behaviour will be of potential benefit to public health policies aimed at reducing gender differences in suicidal behaviour.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:6020
Deposited On:18 Feb 2009 14:27
Last Modified:05 Nov 2009 11:47

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