Relationship between Russian roulette deaths and risk-taking behavior: a controlled study

Am J Psychiatry. 1987 May;144(5):563-7. doi: 10.1176/ajp.144.5.563.


A review of medical examiner records yielded data on 19 men and one woman who died playing Russian roulette. The men differed significantly from 95 male suicide victims who died of gunshot wounds to the head on several variables including age, race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, marital status, living situation, health, and the likelihood of the death being witnessed. The Russian roulette victims were significantly less likely to die in the bedroom, die in the morning, leave a suicide note, and be depressed but were significantly more likely to have alcohol or drugs in their body fluids and to have a previous history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Isolation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / epidemiology
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / psychology*