Better dead than dishonored: Masculinity and male suicidal behavior in contemporary Ghana

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112 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Ghana reliable official data on suicidal behavior are not available. There is also limited empirical research on suicidal behavior in the country. At the same time, police-recorded suicide data, media reports, and communication from professionals in the field indicate that suicidal behavior is a growing problem. To identify current patterns and meanings of male suicidal behavior in Ghana, the study examined official police data spanning 2006-2008. This investigation revealed that reported cases of fatal and nonfatal suicidal behavior overwhelmingly involved males. Furthermore, the majority of males who engaged in suicidal acts did so to deal with feelings of shame and dishonor of variable sources. Findings suggest changing the rigid dichotomization associated with male-female gender roles and socialization that emphasize masculinity ideals in Ghana and the need for increased research and the promotion of counseling for males facing emotional stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume74
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Ghana
  • Honor
  • Masculinities
  • Shame
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Suicide

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