Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
‘Plue plun’ male, ‘kath klei’ female: gender differences in suicidal behavior as expressed by young people in Cambodia
Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Chey Chumneas Hospital, Takhmau, Cambodia.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8052-479X
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, ISSN 1754-2863, E-ISSN 1754-2871, Vol. 7, no 3, 326-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Few studies from low- and middle-income countries use qualitative methodologyto explore suicidal behavior among young people. In Cambodia, young peopleface the challenge of rapidly changing times and are vulnerable for suicidalbehavior as revealed by research in transitional economies. This study seeks togain a deeper understanding of the suicidal phenomena from a gender, psychosocialand cultural perspective. Six focus-group discussions were conductedamong boys and girls, aged 15–19 years, in two secondary schools in a suburbanarea close to Phnom Penh, the capital city. The data was analyzed using thematicanalysis approach. The participants highlighted the gender difference in suicidalbehavior by describing the suicide-prone, acting-out male as ‘plue plun’, whilesuicide-prone females were described as caught in constricted, tunneled-thinkingbehavior, expressed as ‘kath klei’. Parental attitude and family environment werealso pointed out as the chief causes of discontent and there was a strong wish onthe part of young people to find space for modern values within the traditionalfamily. The young people’s awareness of their challenges in everyday life suggeststhat school-based programs to prevent suicidal behavior ought to be gendersensitiveand peer-focused.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2014. Vol. 7, no 3, 326-338 p.
Keyword [en]
young people, focus-group discussion, suicidal behaviour, Cambodia
National Category
Psychiatry Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83539DOI: 10.1080/17542863.2013.800568OAI: diva2:668683
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2015-04-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. ‘Striving to negotiate… dying to escape’: suicidal expressions among young people in Cambodia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘Striving to negotiate… dying to escape’: suicidal expressions among young people in Cambodia
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background Suicide among young people is a global public health problem, but information on determinants and understanding of suicidal expressions are lacking in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Though school-based interventions are common in many parts of the world, evidence for efficacy is less reported, particularly from post-conflict countries.

Aim To explore suicidal expressions and their determinants with psychosocial and gender perspective in Cambodia and Nicaragua and to evaluate a school based intervention to promote mental health and prevent suicidal behavior among young people in Cambodia.

Method School students between the age of 15-19 from Cambodia and Nicaragua responded to Attitude Towards Suicide (ATTS) and Youth Self-Report (YSR) questionnaires. In addition, Life Skill Dimension Scale Adolescent Form (LSDS-AF) was used in schools in Cambodia, one experimental and the other control, to measure the impact of intervention. Six focus group discussions (FGDs), both gender-specific and mixed groups, were held to understand young people’s perception of gender, culture, religion and media and their impact on suicide among them.

Results Paper I. Revealed few gender differences in suicidal expressions, except girls reporting more attempts than boys. Girls exposed to suicide among friends and partners were likely to report own suicidal expressions and girls with internalizing syndrome were at risk for suicidal expressions.   

Paper II. Cambodian teenagers reported more mental health problems but fewer suicidal expressions as compared to Nicaragua. The determinants varied between countries.  

Paper III. Participants of FGDs mentioned “Plue Plun” male and “Kath Klei” female to describe gender difference in suicidal behavior among young people in Cambodia who found it a challenge to negotiate between traditional and modern values.

Paper IV. Suicide ambiguity in Buddhism, stigmatizing culture and double edged media were seen as suicide-provoking by the young people in Cambodia, who recommended peer-focused, school based program.

Paper V. School based Life Skills Intervention overall benefited girls. Boys with high risk behavior had shown improvement on many Life Skills dimensions, as well as in their mental health profile.

Conclusion The gender and cultural differences in suicidal expressions and their determinants among teenagers emphasize the importance of culturally sensitive and gender-specific suicide prevention programs. The influence of religion and media ought to be considered while planning intervention programs. School-based program may be a window of opportunity to promote mental health and prevent suicide among young people in Cambodia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2014. 49 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1643
Suicidal expressions, Young people, Cambodia
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88195 (URN)978-91-7601-041-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-16, Föreläsningssal A, Psykiatriska kliniken, By 23, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-04-25 Created: 2014-04-25 Last updated: 2014-04-25Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(444 kB)83 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 444 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Jegannathan, BhoomikumarDahlblom, KjerstinKullgren, Gunnar
By organisation
Epidemiology and Global HealthPsychiatry
In the same journal
International Journal of Culture and Mental Health
PsychiatryPublic Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 83 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 78 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link