Methods of Choice in Completed Suicides: Gender Differences and Review of Literature

Tanuj Kanchan, Anand Menon, Ritesh G. Menezes

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102 Citations (Scopus)


Suicide is an important public health hazard worldwide. A 4-year retrospective study from January 2000 to December 2003 was conducted to identify the favored methods in realized suicides among males and females in the west coastal region of India. During the study period, a total of 539 cases of suicidal deaths were autopsied. Males were predominantly affected (male: female - 1.9:1). The age of the victims ranged from 13 to 90 years in males (mean = 40.1 years, median = 37.0 years) and 15 to 85 years in females (mean = 36.6 years, median = 32.0 years). Most favored method of suicide amongst males and females was hanging (36.9%, n = 199) followed by poisoning (34.7%, n = 187). Male dominance was apparent for each method of suicide except for self-immolation. Males were relatively more likely to use hanging and poisoning while females were more likely to prefer drowning and self-immolation as methods of suicide. Relatively younger females (mean = 33.0 years, median = 32.0 years) preferred hanging as a method of suicide when compared to males (mean = 42.4 years, median = 40.0 years). Among females, significantly younger females resorted to hanging when compared to older females who preferred drowning. On investigating the various theories proposed for choice of suicide methods in males and females in different regions we conclude that preference of method of suicide in men and women is complexly determined. In this region, availability, accessibility, popularity, and socioacceptability seem to be the major determinants in the choice of methods among males and females rather than violence associated and lethality of the method. Females were as likely to use lethal and violent methods as males in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-942
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01-07-2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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