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The gender paradox: do men differ from women in suicidal behavior?

  • Leah Shelef1

1Department of Military Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190401 Jerusalem, Israel

DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.099 Vol.17,Issue 4,September 2021 pp.22-29

Submitted: 05 June 2021 Accepted: 09 August 2021

Published: 30 September 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Leah Shelef E-mail:

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Is men's suicidal behavior different from that of women's? Much research has been devoted to this question since the late 1980s. Scientific literature refers to it as the "Gender Paradox". This term was coined due to the seemingly self-contradictory findings regarding the differences in suicidal behavior between males and females, whereby women attempt suicide more often but more men die by suicide. If there are indeed differences between the sexes, then it is essential to modify the various suicide prevention programs accordingly. This study aimed to investigate whether those differences are real and inherent to the sexes. It attempted to gain a better understanding of the sources of those differences and the reasons behind them by reviewing the available literature on differences between males and females regarding, suicide and suicidal behaviors. The study found that the differences between the sexes regarding suicidal behavior are indeed inherent. Whether these differences associate more with inheritance or genetics is unclear, as is whether they relate to the sex differences or to gender identity. Clearly though, for effective suicide prevention the differences between male and female suicidal behaviors have to be acknowledged, studied separately and prevention and intervention programs have to take these differences into account.


Suicide; Gender; Sex; Male; Female

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Leah Shelef. The gender paradox: do men differ from women in suicidal behavior?. Journal of Men's Health. 2021. 17(4);22-29.


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