Suicide has always been a tricky area of research, with one of the biggest questions around it concerning gender. Male suicides are often not talked about or researched as compared to female suicides, even though male suicide rates are much higher than female suicide rates. Most research around male suicides show that major causes include job stress, which men are more affected by, and the fact that men are more likely to choose a violent method of suicide, reducing the chances of survival. While more studies are now trying to bridge this disconnect, new research has found that men who participate in home and family caregiving more are less likely to die by suicide.
A multidisciplinary study by Colorado State University Professor of Psychology Silvia Sara Canetto found that the usual suspected factors behind male suicides — economic instability and low career prospects — are not the only contributing factors. According to Canetto’s study, men who overinvest in their careers and underinvest in family life and caregiving are more likely to die by suicide. The study that spanned multiple countries like the United States, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Japan, found lower suicide rates among men who reported more focus on family care.
“Doing family care work would be a way for men to diversify their sources of meaning and purpose, as well as their social capital and networks.”
The study also found a direct correlation between unemployment, family caregiving and male suicide rates. In countries where more men focused on family care, high suicide rates were not linked to higher unemployment rates. On the contrary, in countries where men focused less on family care, higher rates of unemployment were linked to higher suicide rates.
Canetto said that this pattern is hopeful as a means of suicide prevention. “It appears that men benefit from doing family care work in terms of suicide protection. Doing family care work would be a way for men to diversify their sources of meaning and purpose, as well as their social capital and networks,” she said in a press release. This means that while receiving extra perks or incentives at work were found not to affect male suicide rates, having incentives to invest in family and home care would definitely help reduce the rates.
Overall, the findings, which were found to be consistent with other studies, proves that doing away with traits of toxic masculinity where men are only seen as the breadwinners, would be beneficial to all.