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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-21

A gender-specific analysis of suicide methods in deliberate self-harm

1 Department of Psychiatry, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, The Oxford Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Kiran K Kumar
Room No. 112, Department of Psychiatry, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bengaluru - 560 066, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.200098

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Background: Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is a major public health concern. Gender differences in suicide methods are a controversial realm with various regional and cultural variations. This study compared and assessed the methods used in DSH attempters as undertaken by men and women, and investigated the possible role of gender and other clinical variables in the selection of suicide method. Materials and Methods: Two hundred subjects fulfilling the inclusion and exclusion criteria were recruited in the study. The sociodemographic details were recorded in the semi-structured pro forma. Detailed assessment of psychiatric morbidity and DSH was done by clinical interview and validated by Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview-Plus 5.0 and Beck Suicide Intent Scale. Data were analyzed using SAS version 9.2 and SPSS version 17.0. The sample was disaggregated by gender to compare the known correlates of suicide risk on the two most common methods of suicide – poison consumption and drug overdose using multivariate analyses. Results: The analysis revealed that majority of the attempters were in the age group of 11–40 years (91%). Females (63%) outnumbered males (37%); poisoning was the most common type of method (50.5%), followed by drug overdose (35%). There were no statistical differences between the two genders with respect to other sociodemographic variables. Males from urban/semi-urban background (odds ratio [OR] = 4.059) and females living alone (OR = 5.723) had high odds ratio of attempting suicide by poison consumption. Females from urban/semi-urban background (P = 0.0514) and male subjects from nuclear families had an increased odds ratio (OR = 4.482) to attempt suicide by drug overdose. There were no statistical differences when the two genders were compared for other variables such as intentionality, lethality, impulsivity, and number of attempts. Conclusions: It appears that gender differences among DSH attempters appear less pronounced in the Indian setting compared to the worldwide literature on the subject. Nevertheless, the unique, gender-specific characteristics pertaining to DSH attempters in our population emphasize the need for gender-specific interventions in future clinical treatment.

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