Psychosocial influences on prisoner suicide: a case-control study of near-lethal self-harm in women prisoners

Marzano, Lisa, Hawton, Keith, Rivlin, Adrienne and Fazel, Seena (2011) Psychosocial influences on prisoner suicide: a case-control study of near-lethal self-harm in women prisoners. Social Science and Medicine, 72 (6). pp. 874-883. ISSN 0277-9536 (doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.12.028)

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Abstract

We examined the psychosocial influences on female prisoner suicide by carrying out a study of near-lethal self-harm. We interviewed 60 women prisoners who had recently engaged in near-lethal self-harm (cases) and 60 others who had never carried out near-lethal acts in prison (controls) from all closed female prison establishments in England and Wales, using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods.
We gathered information on socio-demographic and criminological variables, life events and childhood
trauma, exposure to suicidal behaviour, contributory and precipitating factors for near-lethal self-harm, social support and psychological characteristics. While socio-demographic factors were only modestly associated with near-lethal self-harm, being on remand, in single cell accommodation, and reporting negative experiences of imprisonment were strong correlates. Recent life events and past trauma, including different forms of childhood abuse, were also significantly associated with near-lethal self-
harm, as were a family history of suicide and high scores on measures of depression, aggression, impulsivity and hostility, and low levels of self-esteem and social support. Our findings underline the importance of both individual and prison-related factors for suicide in custody, and hence the need for a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention in women’s prisons. Given the multiple needs of female prisoners at-risk of self-harm and suicide, complex psychosocial interventions are likely to be required, including interventions for abused and bereaved women, and initiatives to improve staff-prisoner
relationships and reduce bullying. The findings of this research may provide insights into factors leading
to suicidal behaviour in other forensic and institutional settings, such as detention centres and psychiatric hospitals, and may assist in developing suicide prevention policies for prisoners and other at-risk populations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): UK; suicide; attempted suicide; self-injurious behaviour; prison; psychological factors; social factors; criminological factors; women
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 10082
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Lisa Marzano
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2013 06:46
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:26
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082

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