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Psychiatry Res. 2006 Sep 30;144(1):79-86. Epub 2006 Aug 17.

Gender differences in medically serious suicide attempts: a study from south India.

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  • 1The Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK.


Studying gender differences in suicidal behaviour is important in developing specific need-based service provisions. We aimed to identify gender-specific characteristics associated with attempted suicide in a general hospital sample in south India. Two hundred and three patients admitted to medical wards following suicide attempts were assessed using a detailed clinical interview, measures of suicide intent (Suicide Intent Scale), lethality (Risk Rescue Rating), depression (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale) and recent stress (Presumptive Stressful Life Events Scale). The majority of men attempting suicide were single. Men were more likely to use organophosphate poisons in their attempt to kill themselves and had higher rates of mental illness than women. As compared with men, women were more likely to come from rural areas, had a lower educational status, and had lower rates of employment outside the home. In women, the most common method of suicide attempt was by using plant poisons. Suicide attempt by self-immolation was significantly higher among women. Men had higher suicidal intent than women, although lethality, depression and stress were comparable between the genders. Rural women were more disadvantaged in education; however, in urban areas, men had higher psychiatric morbidity. Our results emphasise the need for a gender-specific approach among people who have attempted suicide.

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