The cultural context of suicide stigma in Taiwan

Qual Health Res. 2004 Mar;14(3):345-58. doi: 10.1177/1049732303262057.


In the ethnographic study on which this article is based, the authors investigate experiences after a suicide attempt from the perspective of patients and their family members in Taiwan. Thirty-four patients and 49 family members or colleagues participated in interviews from the point of patients' hospitalization to their return to the community. The postsuicide stigma suffered by patients and their families was based on such cultural themes as Suicide is bu-hsiao (non-filial piety), Suicide results in an inability to transmigrate the soul, and Suicide is inherited. Patients, family members, and colleagues cope with the stigma through explaining suicide as due to "bad luck" or "a kan-huo (hot energy) problem," or by insisting that it was "not a true suicide." These findings suggest that health professionals can move closer to patients and their families and suggest appropriate health care policy through understanding the patient's and the family's explanation of suicide experiences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Culture*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Taiwan