Suicide-Related Behaviour in Chinese Women

Illustrating the role of cultural conceptions of gender in understanding and preventing suicide

Authored by: Juveria Zaheer , Paul S. Links , Samuel Law , Wes Shera , A Ka Tat Tsang , Catherine Cheng , Alan Fung , Pozi Liu

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292


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Suicide is a major international public health concern. Each year, approximately one million people die of suicide worldwide; this number may even represent an underestimate due to variability on reporting practices across countries, shame and stigma, and religious, cultural and legal traditions (Hendin et al., 2008). In almost every country in the world, women have higher rates of suicidal ideation and behaviour, but lower rates of death by suicide than men. Canetto and Sakinofsky (1998) labeled this phenomenon the “gender paradox” of suicidal behaviour, and it is most striking in industrialized nations, specifically English-language countries such as Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia (S. Canetto, 2008). Studies have also shown that more than 90% of suicides meet criteria for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) psychiatric illness, and mood disorders have been associated with about 60% of suicides (Mann et al., 2005). Along with mental illness and male sex, established risk factors for suicide also address the availability of lethal means, alcohol and drug abuse, access to psychiatric treatment, attitudes to suicide, help-seeking behaviour, physical illness, marital status, and age.

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