Suicide methods differ between men and women

Women who commit suicide are more likely than men to avoid facial disfiguration, but not necessarily in the name of vanity. Valerie Callanan from the University of Akron and Mark Davis from the Criminal Justice Research Center at the Ohio State University, USA, show that there are marked gender differences in the use of suicide methods that disfigure the face or head. While firearms are the preferred method for both men and women, women are less likely to shoot themselves in the head. The study is published online in Springer's journal Sex Roles.

Although a number of studies have looked at gender differences in , few have examined gender differences in suicide methods. Understanding gender differences in suicide methods has important implications for efforts.

Callanan and Davis examined the medical examiner's files of 621 suicide cases in Summit County, Ohio in the US, covering a 10-year period (1997-2006). They found that women were significantly less likely than men to use suicide methods with the potential to disfigure the face or head. Indeed, men were nearly twice as likely as women to have used such methods.

The researchers also found that for every one-unit increase in , the odds of using a disfiguring method increased by nearly 10 percent. Gender, age, stressful life events and prior all predicted the use of methods that disfigure the face and head.

The authors conclude: "To suggest that women are less likely to shoot themselves in the face or head because they are more concerned about their appearance than men is to minimize the significance of the act of suicide. What we do know is that those experiencing are at far greater risk of employing an especially lethal method of suicide than those not experiencing such events."

More information: Callanan VJ & Davis MS (2011). Gender and suicide method: do women avoid facial disfiguration? Sex Roles DOI:10.1007/s11199-011-0043-0

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Elderly suicide risk after previous attempts varies by sex

Sep 28, 2009

In older age groups, repeated suicide attempts constitute an increased risk for completed suicide in depressed women, while severe attempts constitute an increased risk for depressed men. Researchers writing in the open access ...

Recommended for you

Mother-daughter research team studies severe-weather phobia

Sep 19, 2014

No one likes severe weather, but for some just the thought of a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane or blizzard can severely affect their lives. When blood pressures spike, individuals obsessively monitor weather forecasts and ...

Study: Pupil size shows reliability of decisions

Sep 18, 2014

Te precision with which people make decisions can be predicted by measuring pupil size before they are presented with any information about the decision, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Bi ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JRDarby
not rated yet Aug 30, 2011
This has been well established for years. The only new information as far as I'm aware is the reason women shoot in the heart vs. the head, but then again I have only a passing knowledge of the subject so that could be OFN too.