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Psychiatric disorders in male prisoners who made near-lethal suicide attempts: case–control study

  • Adrienne Rivlin (a1), Keith Hawton (a1), Lisa Marzano (a1) and Seena Fazel (a1)

Abstract

Background

Although male prisoners are five times more likely to die by suicide than men of a similar age in the general population, the contribution of psychiatric disorders is not known.

Aims

To investigate the association of psychiatric disorders with near-lethal suicide attempts in male prisoners.

Method

A matched case–control study of 60 male prisoners who made near-lethal suicide attempts (cases) and 60 prisoners who had never carried out near-lethal suicide attempts in prison (controls) was conducted. Psychiatric disorders were identified with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), and information on sociodemographic characteristics and criminal history was gathered using a semi-structured interview.

Results

Psychiatric disorders were present in all cases and 62% of controls. Most current psychiatric disorders were associated with near-lethal suicide attempts, including major depression (odds ratio (OR) = 42.0, 95% CI 5.8–305), psychosis (OR = 15.0, 95% CI 2.0–113), anxiety disorders (OR = 6.0, 95% CI 2.3–15.5) and drug misuse (OR = 2.9, 95% CI 1.3–6.4). Lifetime psychiatric disorders associated with near-lethal attempts included recurrent depression and psychoses. Although cases were more likely than controls to meet criteria for antisocial personality disorder, the difference was not statistically significant. Comorbidity was also significantly more common among cases than controls for both current and lifetime disorders.

Conclusions

In male prisoners, psychiatric disorders, especially depression, psychosis, anxiety and drug misuse, are associated with near-lethal suicide attempts, and hence probably with suicide.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Seena Fazel, MD, Centre for Suicide Research, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Email: seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk

Footnotes

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The study was funded by the NHS Forensic Health R&D Programme. K.H. is also supported by Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and is a National Institute for Mental Health Research Senior Investigator.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Psychiatric disorders in male prisoners who made near-lethal suicide attempts: case–control study

  • Adrienne Rivlin (a1), Keith Hawton (a1), Lisa Marzano (a1) and Seena Fazel (a1)

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Psychiatric disorders in male prisoners who made near-lethal suicide attempts: case–control study

  • Adrienne Rivlin (a1), Keith Hawton (a1), Lisa Marzano (a1) and Seena Fazel (a1)
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