While the gendered nature of suicide has received increased research attention, the experiences of women who have lost a man to suicide are poorly understood. Drawing on qualitative photovoice interviews with 29 women who lost a man to suicide, we completed a narrative analysis, focused on describing the ways that women constructed and accounted for their experiences. We found that women’s narratives drew upon feminine ideals of caring for men’s health, which in turn gave rise to feelings of guilt over the man’s suicide. The women resisted holding men responsible for the suicide and tended to blame themselves, especially when they perceived their efforts to support the man as inadequate. Even when women acknowledged their guilt as illogical, they were seemingly unable to entirely escape regret and self-blame. In order to reformulate and avoid reifying feminine ideals synonymous with selflessly caring for others regardless of the costs to their own well-being, women’s postsuicide bereavement support programs hould integrate a critical gender approach.
Creighton, G., Oliffe, J. L., Bottorff, J., & Johnson, J. (2018). “I should have …”:A Photovoice Study With Women Who Have Lost a Man to Suicide. American Journal of Men’s Health, 1262–1274. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988318760030
"I should have …”:A Photovoice Study With Women Who Have Lost a Man to Suicide
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