Year: 2009 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.39, no.1, (February 2009), p.13-20 SIEC No: 20090304

That males have higher suicide rates than females is one of the most empirically documented social facts in suicidology, but the reasons for this continue to be debated. For the present paper, we tested a neglected contributing factor to the gender suicide ratio: wound site or the area of the body that is wounded in firearm suicides. Males may have a higher suicide rate, in part, due to their greater likelihood than women for shooting themselves in the head as opposed to the body. This has been related to gender differences in fear of facial disfigurement and suicide intent. Data from the Wayne County Medical examinerÕs office regarding 807 suicides committed with firearms was analyzed. The dependent variable was dichotomous and referred to the location of the site of the wound: gunshot to the head vs. gunshot to the body. Controls for demographic covariates of suicide included age and race of the suicide victim. The results of the multivariate logistic regression analysis determined that women were 47% less apt than men to shoot themselves in the head. Further analysis determined that women were less apt than men to use shotguns and rifles in their suicides (weapons that make head shooting more awkward). The findings are consistent with the notion that women are more concerned than men with facial disfigurement, and that women have a lower desire to die than men.