Distinguishing prisoners who think about suicide from those who attempt suicide

Favril, L. and O'Connor, R. C. (2021) Distinguishing prisoners who think about suicide from those who attempt suicide. Psychological Medicine, 51(2), pp. 228-235. (doi: 10.1017/S0033291719003118) (PMID:31736457)

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Background: Many people who consider suicide do not translate these intentions into action. Although prisoners constitute a particularly high-risk group for suicide, little is known about the factors that distinguish those who think about suicide from those who attempt suicide. Methods: Participants were 1326 adult offenders (1203 men) randomly selected from 15 Belgian prisons, representing 14% of the national prison population. Multivariate regression analysis compared prisoners who attempted suicide (n = 277) with those who thought about suicide but never made an attempt (n = 312) on a range of established risk factors. Results: Among the 589 participants reporting a lifetime history of suicidal ideation (44% of the total sample), almost half (47%) had made a suicide attempt. Relative to those who only thought about suicide, participants who attempted suicide were more likely to be violent offenders (aOR 2.33, 95% CI 1.49–3.62) and have a history of non-suicidal self-injury (aOR 3.19, 95% CI 2.09–4.86). The presence of self-reported mental disorder diagnosis (aOR = 2.84, 95% CI 1.91–4.24) and illicit substance abuse (aOR = 2.01, 95% CI 1.24–3.28) also independently differentiated prisoners who attempted v. considered suicide. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence that behavioural and mental health factors are implicated in the transition from thoughts to acts of suicide in prisoners. Prospective studies are warranted to explore whether these risk factors predict progression from ideation to action over time.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Special Research Fund (BOF) of Ghent University [BOF13/24J/145].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:O'Connor, Professor Rory
Authors: Favril, L., and O'Connor, R. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Psychological Medicine
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-8978
Published Online:18 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Psychological Medicine 51(2): 228-235
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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