A post mortem enquiry has been made into the social family and clinical circumstances of 50 individuals who, according to a coroner's verdict, killed themselves in Brighton. A dimensional analysis of the 123 variables thus collected suggested the possibility of three distinct types of suicide: ‘depressive suicide’, ‘sociopathic suicide’ and ‘physical illness suicide’. The reliability of this typology has been checked by the analysis of 55 selected variables for a total of 193 cases considered by the same coroner. A cluster analysis has confirmed that the data contain at least three independent types of suicide. Some implications for the prevention of suicide are discussed.
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