Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55--58

Retrospective study of sociodemographic profile of suicidal cases by hanging in a tertiary care hospital at Puducherry


Sunil Subramanyam, Joshima Janardhanan, R Sanjana, R Keerthi, R Monish Kumar, V Salvia Vicuna, Anten P Jairish 
 Department of Forensic Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Joshima Janardhanan
Department of Forensic Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Ganapathichettikulam, Puducherry - 605 014
India

Abstract

Introduction: Hanging is one of the most common methods of committing suicide worldwide as it is believed to cause instant relatively painless death. Objectives: The objective of this study is to analyze the sociodemographic profile, ligature material used, and place of incidence among the victims who committed suicide by hanging. Materials and Methods: The data required for the study were collected and analyzed from all cases of hanging autopsied at a tertiary care center. Results: It was found that most of the victims belonged to younger and middle age groups. Most cases were males, and majority of the victims opted an indoor location to commit suicide. Ligature materials used in majority of the cases were either synthetic or jute rope. Most of the victims were either unemployed or had worked in harsh conditions which depict their socioeconomic status. Conclusion: Analyzing the various sociodemographic features of suicide victims is the initial step in formulating effective preventive efforts from a sociological perspective.



How to cite this article:
Subramanyam S, Janardhanan J, Sanjana R, Keerthi R, Kumar R M, Vicuna V S, Jairish AP. Retrospective study of sociodemographic profile of suicidal cases by hanging in a tertiary care hospital at Puducherry.J Curr Res Sci Med 2019;5:55-58


How to cite this URL:
Subramanyam S, Janardhanan J, Sanjana R, Keerthi R, Kumar R M, Vicuna V S, Jairish AP. Retrospective study of sociodemographic profile of suicidal cases by hanging in a tertiary care hospital at Puducherry. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 15 ];5:55-58
Available from: https://www.jcrsmed.org/text.asp?2019/5/1/55/260644


Full Text



 Introduction



According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over eight hundred thousand people commit suicide every year all over the world.[1] In India, every year >1 lakh people commit suicide and it accounts for 17.5% of all suicidal deaths in the world.[2] According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Puducherry reported the highest number of suicidal cases in India (36.8%) in 2012 of which 75.4% were by hanging.[3] Hanging is the most common method of committing suicide as it is believed to offer a rapid and relatively painless death, and there is no cost involvement other than that of the ligature material. This retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital in Puducherry with the aim to identify the sociodemographic profile of vulnerable members of target population.

Objectives

The objective of this study is to analyze the sociodemographic profile, ligature material used, and place of incidence among the victims who committed suicide by hanging.

 Materials and Methods



This study was carried out at a tertiary care center in Puducherry. It is a record-based retrospective study. The data required for the study were collected and analyzed from all the cases of hanging autopsied at a tertiary care center from 2015 to 2017.

Inclusion criteria

All hanging cases who were designated as suicide after full police investigations, postmortem examination, and toxicological examination were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria

The exclusion criteria of this study were as follows:

Hanging cases with an ambiguous historyUnidentified bodies found hanging.

Sociodemographic details of victims were extracted from the police inquest report and from the postmortem report. All the data collected were kept confidential to protect the identity of the study participants. The current study was approved by the Institute Research Committee, and ethical clearance was obtained.

 Results



During the study period from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017, a total of 604 cases were autopsied, out of which 65 cases were death due to hanging. The sociodemographic profile of victims such as age, sex, marital status, ligature material used, and place of hanging were analyzed using Microsoft Excel sheet (version Microsoft Office 365 2010) and are tabulated in [Table 1] and [Table 2].{Table 1}{Table 2}

Age

In our study, the age of the victims ranged from 15 years to 87 years. The cases were arbitrarily divided into nine groups with each group including a decade of years. Case distribution among various age groups is given in [Table 1].

Gender

In the present study, the number of males who committed suicide by hanging outnumbered females. Forty-six cases (70.73%) were male and 19 cases (29.23%) were female, as shown in [Figure 1].{Figure 1}

Marital status

More number of married individuals committed suicide by hanging than unmarried individuals, as shown in [Figure 2].{Figure 2}

Ligature material used

As per the present study, the ligature material used by majority of the victims was found to be synthetic or jute rope (38.46%). The other ligature materials used were nylon saree (27.69%), cotton dhoti (21.53%), dupatta (7.60%), cable wire (3.07%), and cotton towel (1.50%).

Place of hanging

Of 65 cases of suicidal hanging which were studied, 38 cases (58.46%) committed suicide indoors while 27 cases (41.53%) committed suicide outdoors.

Occupational status

The study also showed that majority of them were unemployed (32.30%). The occupational profile of the victims is depicted in [Table 2].

 Discussion



A multisite intervention study on suicidal behaviors by the WHO had revealed that it is possible to reduce suicidal death by brief and low-cost intervention in developing countries. It is important to study the socioeconomic conditions and cultural factors involved in hanging cases in order to identify the vulnerable people who are likely to commit suicide in a target population.

The study showed that majority of cases (35.4%) were between 31 and 40 years, and this was followed by 32.3% of cases in 21–30 years' age group. This is the most economically productive and active age group of any society. Various studies conducted by Elfawal and Awad,[4] Batra and Dongre,[5] Azmak,[6] Dixit et al.,[7] Luke et al.,[8] Morild,[9] Sharma et al.,[10] Singh et al.,[11] Uzün et al.,[12] Sharma et al.,[13] and Bhosle et al.[14] also document that majority of cases of hanging are usually found among the young and middle age groups. An individual who is in the prime of his or her life gets exposed to various stressful circumstances of life such as strained relationships, emotional instability, addictive behaviors, failure in examinations, and economic problems which can act as precipitating factors to commit suicide. However, other studies conducted by Simonsen[15] and Bowen[16] contradict this finding and found hanging as a preferred method of committing suicide among the elderly.

The present study also showed that majority of suicide victims were male (70.73%). This finding is similar to studies conducted by Elfawal and Awad,[4] Batra and Dongre,[5] Azmak,[6] Dixit et al.,[7] Luke et al.,[8] Morild,[9] Sharma et al.,[10] Singh et al.,[11] Uzün et al.,[12] Sharma et al.,[13] Bhosle et al.,[14] Nikolic et al.,[17] and Paparo and Siegel.[18] In a patriarchal society such as ours, it is not uncommon for a male to bear most of the family's burden, which becomes even more stressful when he is the only earning member of the family and fails to meet the economic needs of his family. Moreover, addiction to alcohol, which is alleged to be an important factor associated with suicide, is found to be more prevalent in males than in females in this study population. However, our study is in contrast to the studies conducted by Naik et al.,[19] Saisudheer and Nagaraja,[20] Rastogi and Kochar,[21] and Banerjee et al.,[22] where there is female preponderance in cases of suicide by hanging.

The study also finds that most of cases involved married individuals (64.6%), which is similar to studies conducted by Saisudheer and Nagaraja,[20] Udhayabanu et al.,[23] and Mohanty et al.[24] It might be due to the fact that the amount of responsibility, stress that arises out of career failure, economic instability, and inability to balance personal and professional life are more for a married individual than an unmarried person. An unmarried individual can weather a career failure or an economic depression as he does not have any additional responsibility of taking care of a family.

This study also found that 58.6% of cases committed suicide in indoor location which is similar to various studies conducted by Sharma et al.,[13] Simonsen,[15] Bhosle et al.,[14] Nikolic et al.,[17] Udhayabanu et al.,[23] Mohanty et al.,[24] Rawat and Rodrigues,[25] and Kumar et al.[26] Location which is selected by the victims may be someplace which can be accessed easily but at the same time gives them adequate privacy and seclusion so that the act of suicide could be completed without any external interventions.

On analyzing the ligature material, it was found that majority of victims used synthetic or jute rope (38.46%) and synthetic saree (27.69%) as ligature material, which is similar to findings of other authors like Simonsen,[15] Dixit et al.,[7] Luke et al.,[8] Uzün et al.,[12] Sharma et al.,[13] Bhosle et al.,[14] Nikolic et al.,[17] Mohanty et al.,[24] and Rawat and Rodrigues.[25] It shows that easily available materials were used as a ligature. Even though other ligature materials found in the present study such as cotton dhoti, dupatta, cable wire, and cotton towel are also easily available, their questionable reliability might be the reason for them not being used frequently as ligature material by the victims.

The current study also found that 32.30% were unemployed and 27.69% were employed as laborers at the time of their death. This finding is similar to studies by Bhosle et al.,[14] Rawat and Rodrigues,[25] and Kumar et al.[26] Earlier studies have correlated low socioeconomic status with increased incidence of suicide as negative ideas about life and suicidal ideation are found to be prevalent among individuals with economic depression, unmanageable debts, and food insecurity.[27]

Limitations of the study

This study was conducted in a small group of population, and the findings obtained cannot be significantly extrapolated to the rest of the wider population without conducting similar studies in other parts of the country. Various personal stressors were also not analyzed in this study.

 Conclusion



Suicide or attempted suicide is one of the major indicators of mental health of a population. It is also a drain on the workforce of the society as majority of the victims fall within the economically productive age group of the society as shown in this study. This study is an initial step toward a larger multicentric study where further analysis including the precipitating factors of suicide among younger victims can be analyzed and necessary sociological interventions can be made to prevent this socioeconomic burden on our society.[28]

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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