Suicidal behavior among Finnish fire setters

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1997;247(6):303-7. doi: 10.1007/BF02922259.


Histories of serious suicide attempts and slashing were investigated among Finnish fire setters. Medical and criminal records of 304 fire setters were examined to compare those who had attempted suicide with those who had not, and those who had slashed themselves with those who had not using biological, diagnostic, and demographic variables. Major mood disorders, father's alcoholism, and suicidal motive of fire setting (self-immolation) were significantly associated with suicide attempts. Paternal violent alcoholism, father's criminality, and suicidal motive of fire setting were significantly associated with slashing. Among fire setters, non-lethal slashing is a predictor of serious suicidality. Associations between psychiatric diagnoses, family history, and suicidality among fire setters are similar to those reported for suicidal patients with mood and substance abuse diagnoses. Therefore, studying fire setters, who exhibit an extremely high incidence of suicidal behavior, is an effective way to elucidate psychobiology of suicidal behaviors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family
  • Finland
  • Firesetting Behavior / psychology*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Violence / psychology


  • Blood Glucose