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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


MINAYO, Maria Cecília de Souza; MENEGHEL, Stela Nazareth  and  CAVALCANTE, Fátima Gonçalves. Suicide of elderly men in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.10, pp.2665-2674. ISSN 1678-4561.

This paper assesses the suicide of elderly men in Brazil. The text is based on studies of gender and masculinity and emphasizes the sense of "hegemonic masculinity" within the logic of patriarchalism that, in the case of suicide, is expressed in the loss of employment as an existential reference and as a loss of honor. The study includes 40 cases of men over 60 who committed suicide between 2007 and 2010 in ten districts of the country. Using the psychosocial autopsy technique, data were collected and analyzed from their history and lifestyle; evaluation of the background to the act; the impact on their families; lethality of the method; proximity to sources of support; previous attempts; mental status which preceded the act; reaction of families and communities. Although many factors are associated with self-inflicted death in this social group, the influence of a hegemonic masculinity culture in the predominance of suicides among elderly men compared with elderly women is undeniable. It is essential to give special attention to men at the moment of transition from working life to retirement, loss or important family members, and when they are diagnosed with chronic and degenerative diseases that cause disabilities, loss of autonomy or sexual impotence.

Keywords : Suicide; Suicide of the elderly; Suicide of elderly men; Masculinities.

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