Journal Published Online: 01 July 2001
Volume 46, Issue 4

Factors in Prison Suicide: One Year Study in Texas



The goal of the study was to examine psychopathology and stressors suffered by suicide victims, and to describe the characteristics of the suicides in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice between June of 1996 to June of 1997. Data on 25 completed suicides were collected from the records department. Results: The authors identified 60% of the suicide victims with a history of psychiatric disorders. Seventy-six percent had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders while incarcerated. The most frequent psychiatric disorders were mood disorders (64%), psychotic disorders (44%), personality disorders (56%), and comorbidity with a history of presentencing alcohol and drug abuse was common. Most of the victims experienced chronic and/or acute stressors of acute trauma, disrupted relationship, sentence hearing, and/or medical condition. We concluded that important factors associated with increased risk of prison suicide include psychiatric disorders, comorbid substance abuse, a history of suicide attempt, and chronic and/or acute stressors.

Author Information

He, X-Y
University of Texas Medical Branch
Felthous, AR
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Chester Mental Health Center
Holzer, CE
University of Texas Medical Branch
Nathan, P
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Health Services, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch
Veasey, S
University of Texas Medical Branch
Pages: 6
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS15065J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15065J