Definitions of suicide and self-harm behavior in an Australian Aboriginal community

Terri Farrelly*, Karen Francis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this small qualitative grounded theory study (21 interviews and focus groups with a total of 26 participants) investigating the understandings of and attitudes toward suicide and self‐harm of Aboriginal peoples in a coastal region of New South Wales, Australia, we found that cultural factors particular to these communities influence the way such behavior is defined in an Aboriginal context. A continuation of certain “traditional” cultural forms of self‐harm behavior was evident in participant definitions, notably the practice of female hair cutting, also described as a mourning ritual, which appears to serve as a marker both to the individual and others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


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