Explaining Suicide in an Urban Slum of Mumbai, India

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Explaining Suicide in an Urban Slum of Mumbai, India

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Title: Explaining Suicide in an Urban Slum of Mumbai, India
Author: Parkar, Shubhangi R.; Nagarsekar, Balkrishna; Weiss, Mitchell Gralnick

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Citation: Parkar, Shubhangi R., Balkrishna Nagarsekar, and Mitchell G. Weiss. 2009. “Explaining Suicide in an Urban Slum of Mumbai, India.” In Crisis 30, no. 4: 192–201. doi:10.1027/0227-5910.30.4.192.
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Abstract: Background: Health demographic mortality studies use verbal autopsies to identify suicide as a cause of death. Psychological autopsies focus almost exclusively on associated high-risk psychiatric disorders. New approaches considering contextual factors are needed for preventing suicide and promoting mental health. Aims: This study examined explanations of suicide reported by surviving family members or close friends with reference to social, cultural, and environmental conditions as well as the challenges of life in the Malavani slum of Mumbai. Methods: An EMIC (Explanatory Model Interview Catalog) interview based on a cultural epidemiological framework considered underlying problems, perceived causes, and sociocultural contexts. It was administered to survivors of 76 people who had died by suicide (56.6% women). Results: Accounts of underlying problems typically referred to various aspects of tension (73.7%). Perceived causes often identified multiple factors. The sociocultural contexts of suicide included the victimization of women, the personal and social impact of problem drinking, marital problems, physical health problems, mental tension, possession and sorcery. Women were particularly vulnerable to the impact of problem drinking by a spouse or father. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the value of an approach to sociocultural autopsy examining local contexts and explanations of suicide. Findings highlight needs for both mental health services and culturally sensitive social interventions.
Published Version: doi:10.1027/0227-5910.30.4.192
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:34864850
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