Traumatic life events and suicide risk among jail inmates: the influence of types of events, time period and significant others

J Trauma Stress. 2002 Feb;15(1):9-16. doi: 10.1023/A:1014323009493.


Relationships between traumatic life events and suicide risk were studied in two samples of jail inmates with a low (N = 216) and a high (N = 51) suicide risk. Although nonsuicidal inmates reported a high prevalence of traumatic life events, suicidal inmates reported even higher prevalence rates. Suicidal inmates reported more episodes of sexual abuse, physical maltreatment, emotional maltreatment, abandonment, and suicide attempts by significant others. They also had experienced more traumatic life events during childhood, later life, and detention. It is concluded that traumatic life events are associated with suicide risk and that such an association remains in a population with a high prevalence of traumatic life events. It is also concluded that suicide risk is dependent of the type of life event, the timing of the event, and the type of persons involved in the event.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*