Factors in prison suicide: one year study in Texas

J Forensic Sci. 2001 Jul;46(4):896-901.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Middle Aged
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted