Research Highlight

Gender trends in suicide

Subhra Priyadarshini

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.107 Published online 28 January 2008

Suicides show gender-specific trends

© Corbis

Men are more prone to consuming poison to commit suicide than women, according to a study1 conducted in southern India. Even the time of the day to commit suicide seemed to follow a clear gender trend: women chose afternoons and the first quarter of the year while men preferred evenings or late nights and the second quarter of the year to end their lives.

The study, which looked at autopsies of 137 cases of suicidal poisoning related deaths, found a male-female ratio of 2.8:1. The five-year study from 2000 to 2004 found that most of the victims of suicidal poisoning were in their thirties. However, more women than men were suffering from depression at the time of death. For men, the mean age for suicide was 40.5 years and for women it was 34.4 years. The men seemed to prefer organophosphates as compared to zinc phosphides, carbamates and medicinal agents that women consumed to kill themselves.

Poisoning is one of the preferred means of committing suicide among Indians. The retrospective study was conducted at a Manipal-based hospital in Karnataka to understand the magnitude and pattern of suicidal poisoning among men and women. The study examined the difference in pattern of suicidal poisoning among men and women to identify the population at risk and understand individual problems of the genders.


  1. Kanchan, T. et al. Suicidal poisoning in Southern India: Gender differences. J. Forensic Leg. Med. 15, 7-14 (2008) | PubMed |