Suicidality of young ethnic minority women with an immigrant background: The role of autonomy

European Journal of Women's Studies 23 (3):297-311 (2016)

Abstract

Ethnic minority status and female gender convey a risk for suicidal behavior, yet research of suicidality of ethnic minority female immigrants is scarce. The authors of this article conducted qualitative interviews with 15 young women in the Netherlands, who either had attempted suicide or contemplated suicide, and analyzed these in a narrative psychology tradition. Suicidality was associated with despair and frustration over the violation of the women’s personal autonomy and self-integrity regarding strategic life choices. Autonomy restrictions and violations followed two patterns, which are interconnected with four criteria regarding the capacity for autonomy. Findings are discussed with referral to Durkheim and feminist theories of autonomy.

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