Year: 2009 Source: Archives of Suicide Research, v.13, no.2, (2009), p.185-194 SIEC No: 20090352

The objective of this study was to investigate the role of different aspects of psychological strain in Chinese rural young suicides, so as to test the strain theory of suicide with the Chinese samples. A Psychological Autopsy (PA) was conducted on 105 suicides in rural China. The background and deep reasons for suicide were obtained from in-depth interviews with survivors and close friends. For each suicide, a story is composed out of the provided information, and the stories were content-analyzed with the SPSS Text Analysis for Surveys. Depression or other mental disorders were observed for less than half of the sampled suicides (42.9%). All suicides (100%) had experienced at least one type of the four strains: conflicting values; aspiration and reality; relative deprivation; and coping deficiency. While 24.9% of all suicides experienced only one type of strain, 36.2% experienced two types of strains, 32.4% experienced three types of strains, and only 6.7% of the suicides experienced all four types of strains. Males are more likely than females to experience aspiration and deprivation strains, and the younger suicides (15Ð22 years of age) were more likely than the older suicides (23Ð29 years of age) to experience coping strain. Psychological strains are more prevalent than mental disorders among Chinese rural young suicides. Mental illness might be a function of strain resulting from some negative life events, and future studies need to disentangle the relationship between strain and mental disorders.