Structuring roles and gender identities within families explaining suicidal behaviour in south India

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Background: This paper examines the social structures, culture, gendered roles, and their implications for suicidal behavior in South
India. Exploring the cultural process within the structures of family and society to understand suicide and attempted suicide from the perspectives
of survivors, mental health professionals, and traditional healers has not been achieved in the existing suicide-related research studies conducted
in India to date. Aims: This study aimed to explore the cultural implications of attempted suicide by examining the survivors’ life stories, their
perceptions, and service providers’ interpretations of problem situation. Method: A qualitative design was used drawing on constant comparison
method and thematic analysis. The analysis was underpinned by the theoretical concepts of Bourdieu’s work. In-depth interviews were
conducted with 15 survivors of attempted suicide, eight mental health professionals, and eight traditional healers from Southern India. Results:
The study found interactions among visible and invisible fields such as faith, power, control, culture, family, religion, and social systems to have
strengthened the disparities in gender and role structures within families and societies and to have impacted survivors’ dispositions to situations.
Conclusion: The role of culture in causing suicide and attempted suicide is explained by unravelling the negative impact of interacting cultural
and structural mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2016

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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