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Title: New Heteronormativity: The Gay-Straight Tipping Point in Suicide Prevention Amongst Male University Students in the U.S.
Authors: Ellis, Scott Allan
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst university students aged between 25 and 34, and the second leading cause of death overall for people aged between 15 and 34. Men die by suicide at four times the rate of women across all age groups, at roughly 20 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This has been the case since the 1950s and stubbornly persists; defying interventions and harm reduction efforts designed to contain it. While such figures and trends are reflected across much of the western world, the U.S. has a particular problem. Young men at university are at the epicentre of the crisis. Prevention efforts increasingly focus on identities and social lives, with research fractured along concepts of sexuality, masculinity, and social constructs. This thesis examines this multifactorial, social ecology, and adopts a phenomenological framework to understand the place of prevention in the social and private spheres of male students at U.S. university campuses. The study explored the lived experiences of 29 students and utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis. The study found considerable understanding of constructed and socio-political factors amongst the group, including how recent shifts in the U.S. government had contributed to societal views of young men. Despite this self-insight, wavering resilience, and a growing frustration with the failure of statutory systems and the government to intervene has led to stalled prevention efforts in many university contexts. Academic and public health models must, jointly, find new means to consider wider influencing arenas on suicidality, heteronormativity, masculinity, sports, politics, and their place in the higher education environment. Findings are of considerable importance to agencies related to, and working at the forefront of, suicide prevention efforts and the intersection of masculinities and suicidalities.
Description: Ed. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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