Handbook on the Family and Marriage in China
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Handbook on the Family and Marriage in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang and Lucy X. Zhao

This Handbook advances research on the family and marriage in China by providing readers with a multidisciplinary and multifaceted coverage of major issues in one single volume. It addresses the major conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues of marriage and family in China and offers critical reflections on both the history and likely progression of the field.
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Chapter 22: Marriage and suicide among women in rural China

Jie Zhang


Chapter 22 discusses suicides among married women in rural China. The Chinese suicide rates used to be among the highest in the world, with about 23 suicide deaths every year for each 100 000 Chinese population. Suicides by young females in rural China contributed substantially to the high rate of suicide and the total number of suicides, given the large number of people in China. Given the traditional familial structure that remains largely intact in rural China, this chapter reports that being married is not a protective factor for suicide in rural China. Fertility events are not related to suicide risk for rural young women. Social support is stronger for unmarried women than for married women, and risk factors tend to be family-related issues. Zhang accounts for rural young women’s suicides in Chinese culture contexts, using Durkheim’s notion of fatalistic suicide and the ‘strain theory of suicide’.

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