Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A clinical and epidemiological survey of parasuicide and suicide in Edinburgh schizophrenics

  • Greg Wilkinson (a1) and Niall A. Bacon (a1)

Between 1968 and 1981 there were roughly equal numbers of male and female schizophrenic parasuicides in Edinburgh: males were significantly younger than females at parasuicide (33 v. 37 years), and had received a diagnosis of schizophrenia for a shorter time (3·4 v. 7·2 years). The clinical, epidemiological and social characteristics of such parasuicides are, by and large, those that might be expected from a knowledge of the epidemiology of schizophrenia.

Eight per cent of a sample of Edinburgh schizophrenic first-ever parasuicides subsequently committed suicide, when followed up for up to 14 years. This percentage is close to what would be expected for later suicide in non-schizophrenic parasuicides. When all the suicides were considered, similar numbers of male and female schizophrenics killed themselves; their mean ages at death were 42 and 43 years respectively; and the mean duration of the schizophrenic illness was 10 years in both cases, according to hospital records.

We found slight evidence that parasuicide is commoner in schizophrenic suicides than in schizophrenic controls but little evidence to support the contention that there may be a specific relationship between suicide (or parasuicide) and the presence of auditory hallucinations, recent discharge from in-patient care, the use of depot neuroleptic medication, or recent parasuicide.

From the point of view of the prevention of suicide and parasuicide in schizophrenics, it is noteworthy that we found few differences between the clinical characteristics and management of schizophrenic parasuicides and suicides, and schizophrenic controls.

Corresponding author
1Address for correspondence: Dr Greg Wilkinson, General Practice Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Cohen , C. V. Leonard , N. L. Farberow & E. S. Schneidman (1964). Tranquilisers and suicide in the schizophrenic patient. Archives of General Psychiatry 11, 312321.

T. A. Holding , D. Buglass , J. C. Duffy & N. Kreitman (1977). Parasuicide in Edinburgh – a seven year review 1968 – 74. British Journal of Psychiatry 130, 534543.

C. P. Miles (1977). Conditions predisposing to suicide: a review. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 164, 231246.

I. M. K. Ovenstone (1973). A psychiatric approach to the diagnosis of suicide and its effect upon the Edinburgh statistics. British Journal of Psychiatry 123, 1521.

K. Planansky & R. Johnston (1971). The occurrence and characteristics of suicidal preoccupation and acts in schizophrenia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 47, 473483.

A. D. Pokorny (1964). Suicide rates in various psychiatric disorders. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 139, 499506.

A. D. Pokorny (1966). A follow-up study of 618 suicidal patients. American Journal of Psychiatry 122, 11091116.

A. A. Robin , E. M. Brook & D. L. Freeman-Browne (1967). Some aspects of suicide in psychiatric patients in Southend. British Journal of Psychiatry 114, 739747.

A. Roy (1982). Suicide in chronic schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry 141, 171177.

A. Roy , A. Mazonson & D. Pickar (1984). Attempted suicide in chronic schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry 144, 303306.

J. W. Shaffer , S. Perlin , W. Chester , M. D. Schmidt & J. H. S. Stephens (1974). The prediction of suicide in schizophrenia. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 159, 349355.

G. S. Stein (1982). Dangerous episodes occurring around the time of discharge of four chronic schizophrenic patients. British Journal of Psychiatry 141, 586589.

M. T. Tsuang (1978). Suicide in schizophrenics, manies, depressives, and surgical controls. Archives of General Psychiatry 35, 153155.

M. T. Tsuang & R. F. Woolson (1978). Excess mortality in schizophrenia and affective disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry 35, 11811185.

D. G. Wilkinson (1982). The suicide rate in schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry 140, 138141.

P. E. Yarden (1974). Observations on suicide in chronic schizophrenics. Comprehensive Psychiatry 15, 325333.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 70 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.