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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

MENEGHEL, Stela Nazareth et al. Suicide in the elderly from a gender perspective. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.8, pp. 1983-1992. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000800009.

This study examines the relationship between suicide and aging from a gender perspective, examining the socially imposed boundaries of masculinity and femininity in the lives of elderly people who committed suicide. It is a qualitative study in which 50 psychosocial autopsies conducted with elderly relatives were selected from 10 cities in the North, South, Northeast and Midwest of Brazil. In this article we have identified situations of gender vulnerabilities in the lives of 13 people who committed suicide: 10 men and 3 women selected for their exemplary character. Two main categories were listed: the first refers to femininity including the "gender destiny" experienced by elderly women who commit suicide when they can no longer care for themselves or work. The second concerns the hegemonic masculinity in crisis, in which old men die after changing from the role of providers due to retirement or illness. It should be stressed that gender norms, codes of honor, power inequalities and stereotypes affect both women and men in terms of susceptibility to suicidal behavior.

Keywords : Gender; Suicide; Femininity; Masculinity.

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