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The role of gender and suicide precipitant in attitudes toward nonfatal suicide behavior

Eric R Dahlen, Silvia Sara Canetto
Death Studies 2002, 26 (2): 99-116
This study examined factors affecting young adults' attitudes about nonfatal suicidal behavior. It evaluated how respondent sex, respondent gender identity, the precipitant of the suicidal act (i.e., a relationship loss, an achievement failure, or a physical illness), and gender of the suicidal person influence reactions to a suicidal decision. In this study of nonfatal suicidal behavior, like in studies of suicide, attitudes were least negative when the suicidal act was in response to a physical illness. Men were more likely to agree with and accept the suicidal decision than women. Androgynous persons, on the other hand, tended to view the decision to kill oneself as foolish, independent of precipitant. They also reported less agreement, acceptance, and sympathy for such decision. The implications of these findings for the prevention of suicidal behaviors are considered. Because gender seems to play a role in the acceptability of suicidal behavior, prevention programs ought to explicitly examine gender issues in attitudes toward suicidal behavior.


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