Suicidal behavior after severe trauma. Part 2: The association between methods of torture and of suicidal ideation in posttraumatic stress disorder

J Trauma Stress. 1998 Jan;11(1):113-24. doi: 10.1023/A:1024413301064.


The study reports on 65 refugees with diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and manifest suicidal behavior (40% had suicide attempts; 29% detailed suicide plan; 31% recurrent suicidal thoughts). Our hypothesis was that the predominant kind of stressful experience in PTSD patients might be reflected in their choice of method when pondering or attempting suicide. Relationships were found to exist between the main stressors and the respective subjects' preference for suicide method. Particularly among PTSD patients with a history of torture, an association was found between the torture methods that the victim had been exposed to, and the suicide method used in ideation or attempts. Blunt force applied to the head and body was associated with jumping from a height or in front of trains, water torture with drowning, or sharp force torture with methods involving self-inflicted stabbing or cutting. Relationships between main stressors and content of suicidal ideation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa / ethnology
  • Europe, Eastern / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latin America / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle East / ethnology
  • Refugees
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Torture / classification*
  • Torture / psychology
  • Torture / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / psychology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / psychology
  • Yugoslavia / ethnology