Gender differentiation in methods of suicide attempts

Med Sci Monit. 2011 Aug;17(8):PH65-70. doi: 10.12659/msm.881887.


Background: Suicide is an important public health problem worldwide, especially due to an increasing rate of suicides committed by violent methods. This study compared and assessed the methods used in suicide attempts (but no completed suicides) as undertaken by men and women and investigated the possible role of gender in the selection of suicide method.

Material/methods: The study was conducted among persons who attempted suicide by various methods and were admitted to hospital. The study population comprised 147 participants (33 males and 114 females) aged between 14 and 33 years.

Results: The most prevalent methods of suicide attempts were pharmacological drugs abuse (42.31%) and exsanguination (25.64%), and the least frequent were poisoning and throwing oneself under a moving car (1.28%). The findings revealed that the female subjects tended to choose pharmacological drugs overdose and exsanguination as the suicide method, while males more frequently used hanging and asphyxia. Females also used a greater number of different suicide methods.

Conclusions: The study results indicate that women as a group more frequently attempted suicide rather than actually committing it, whereas men were more likely to complete suicides and choose more violent suicide methods; thus, women are the "attempters" and "survivors" of suicide attempts. The study findings may have implications for therapy and prevention of suicide, and suggest that psychotherapeutic activities should be tailored to the psychological and personality traits associated with gender identity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult