National Context, Social Change, and Sex Differences in Suicide Rates

  • Pampel F
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Rejecting claims of either convergence or divergence in male and female suicide rates associated with changes in gender equality, I examine a hypothesis of institutional adjustment in which the sex differential in suicide rates first narrows and then widens with continued societal change. Further, I argue that among high-income nations, the degree of institutional adjustment varies with national context. Using aggregate data on age-specific suicide rates for men and women in 18 nations from 1953 to 1992, the analysis shows curvilinear effects of age, time, the female labor force participation rate, the divorce rate, and the marriage rate consistent with the institutional adjustment hypothesis. The analysis also shows that adjustment occurs more quickly among nations with collectivist rather than individualist institutions of social protection. CR - Copyright © 1998 American Sociological Association

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  • Fred C Pampel

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