Acquired capability and masculine gender norm adherence: Potential pathways to higher rates of male suicide.
Granato, S., Smith, P., & Selwyn, C.
The interpersonal theory posits that to die by suicide a person must be fearless of death and able to tolerate the physical pain involved in suicide. This capability for suicide is acquired via repeated exposure to painful and provocative life events and has been proposed as a potential mechanism by which men come to be at higher risk for death by suicide compared with women. The current study examined the degree to which masculine gender norms might encourage men to engage in painful and provocative life events and, therefore, experience greater acquired capability. A sample of 583 male and female university students completed self-report surveys of masculine gender norm adherence, history of exposure to painful and provocative life events, and the acquired capability for suicide. Results indicated that masculine gender norms of success, power, and competition; restrictive emotionality; and work and family conflict indirectly influenced acquired capability via their relationship with painful and provocative life events. Although men reported greater acquired capability and past exposure to painful and provocative life events, the indirect effect of gender norm adherence on acquired capability was not moderated by sex. Findings support that men may be at greater risk for death by suicide because they are socialized to adhere to masculine gender norms that encourage them to engage in painful and provocative life events and, as a result, experience greater acquired capability. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)