Culture, Gender, And Suicidal Behavior In Sri Lanka

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1998

Published In

Suicide And Life-Threatening Behavior


In less than 50 years, the rate of suicide among Sri Lankans has risen from a modest level to one of the highest in the world. This article describes the current pattern of suicides, including sex differences and similarities, and reviews some of the institutional practices, material conditions, and social norms that may figure in the increases. A study is reported, which asked how ordinary Sri Lankans account for suicidal behavior and what practices they recommend for assisting suicidal individuals. Gender inflected these accounts, with essentialist accounts associated with women's suicides and contextual accounts associated with men's suicides.