Gender and cultural patterns of suicidal behavior: Young Hindustani immigrant women in The Netherlands

Diana D. Van Bergen*, Johannes H. Smit, Ad J.F.M. Kerkhof, Sawitri Saharso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Patterns of suicidal behavior vary among cultures and along gender. Young Hindustani immigrant women attempt suicide four times more often than young Dutch women. This article explores multi-disciplinary explanations for suicidal behavior in this group. The interconnection of Durkheimian concepts of social integration and regulation with ecological insights into family relations and psychological and psychiatric theories on individual distress are relevant. It is suggested that young Hindustani women who display suicidal behavior possess certain personality and cognitive constellations that are interlocked with specific parenting styles in stressful family environments. These families are embedded in a context of moral transformations resulting from migration to a Western culture and may be facing difficulties accompanying the transitional processes encountered in the West, particularly those regarding gender roles. Durkheimian fatalistic and anomic suicides elucidate this. The Hindustani women who appear most at risk are those facing contradictory norms and overregulation, which prevent them from developing autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006

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