Year: 1998 Source: Transcultural Psychiatry, v.35, no.2, (June 1998), p.163-190 SIEC No: 20010440

Cultural concepts of gender & suicidal behaviour are revealed in language & theory. They organize the way stories of suicidal behaviour are narrated, determine which events are highlighted, & the conclusions to be drawn about precipitants & motives. These gendered images & narratives have become so entrenched as to be taken for universal truths. The authors’ review of the evidence, however, shows that while these conceptualizations may apply to some men & women in western, English-language countries, they are neither universally valid nor historically constant. Examples are offered of communities where patterns & meanings of gender & suicidal behaviour do not conform with trends in western, English-language countries. Suicide cases often involve a more complex plot than suggested by cultural scripts. The implications for suicide prevention are discussed. (67 refs.)