Studying survivors of near-lethal suicide attempts as a proxy for completed suicide in prisons

Rivlin, Adrienne, Fazel, Seena, Marzano, Lisa and Hawton, Keith (2012) Studying survivors of near-lethal suicide attempts as a proxy for completed suicide in prisons. Forensic Science International, 220 (1). pp. 19-26. ISSN 0379-0738 (doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.01.022)

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Abstract

Suicides in prisons are common. There is a pressing need to understand more about the causes and
prevention of prisoner suicides. A particularly informative approach is through studying survivors of
near-lethal suicide attempts. However, the extent to which this approach is a good proxy for completed
suicide requires verification. In this article we aimed to assess (1) the extent to which male and female
prisoners who made near-lethal suicide attempts in prison are similar to prisoners who die by suicide; (2)
the suicidal intent of those making near-lethal suicide attempts; and (3) the applicability of the Suicide
Intent Scale in prisons. Survivors of near-lethal suicide attempts and prisoners who died by suicide were
compared on sociodemographic and criminological characteristics. The suicidal intent of prisoners
engaging in near-lethal self-harm was assessed using Beck’s Suicide Intent Scale. There were no
significant differences when the sociodemographic and criminological profiles of prisoners who made
near-lethal suicide attempts and those who died by suicide were compared, except that male prisoners
who made near-lethal suicide attempts were somewhat younger. Most prisoners carrying out near-lethal
acts had high suicidal intent. However, some questions in the Suicide Intent Scale were inappropriate for
assessing intent in prisoners. Prisoners who survive near-lethal self-harm would appear to be a valid
proxy for those who die by suicide in prison. The Suicide Intent Scale requires some modifications for use
in prisons.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 10079
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2013 07:53
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:26
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079

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