Year: 1998 Source: American Sociological Review, v.63, no.5, (October 1998), p.744-758 SIEC No: 20010312

The author rejects claims of either convergence or divergence in male & female suicide rates associated with changes in gender equality. Instead, a hypothesis of institutional adjustment in which the gender differential in suicide rates first narrows & then widens with continued societal change is examined. Further, it is argued that among high-income nations, the degree of institutional adjustment varies with national context. Using aggregate data on age-specific suicide rates for men & women in 18 nations from 1953-1992, the analsyis show curvilinear effects of age, time, female labour force participation rates, divorce rates, & marriage rates consistent with the institutional adjustment hypothesis. Analysis also shows that ajustment occurs more quickly among nations with collectivist rather than individualist institutions of social protection. (49 refs.)