A study looking at differences in suicide methods between men and women found that although women are less likely to shoot themselves in the head than men, there may be specific reasons why they choose to kill themselves. die this way.
Researchers from the University of Akron and Ohio State University examined 621 suicides that occurred from 1997 to 2006 in Summit County, Ohio. In addition to looking at suicide methods and what led to them, they also split the data by gender to see if men’s and women’s means of suicide were different.
Men were almost twice as likely as women to use a method that disfigured their face or head. Several theories have been advanced for this phenomenon: that women are more concerned about their physical appearance, even in death; that women are not as familiar with guns as men; and that women do not want to upset their loved ones who may find their disfigured bodies.
But by exploring the data, the researchers found two things that were linked to the likelihood of women shooting themselves in the face or head: having ever attempted suicide and experiencing stressful events leading to suicide.
“The results suggest that women who have previously unsuccessfully attempted suicide may try again later using more lethal methods,” the authors wrote. “It counters gendered assumptions that women’s attempts are just cries for help.”
By examining the differences in suicide methods between men and women, they added, better prevention strategies can be developed.
The study was published online recently in the journal Sex roles.