Suicide behaviours in incarcerated males: Links to psychopathic traits, forms of aggression to others, personal characteristics, and current penitentiary variables

Jorge J. Ricarte, Francisco Caravaca-Sánchez, Tom J. Barry, Eva Aizpurua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Self-injurious behaviours and suicide attempts among incarcerated people are higher when compared with the general population. The current research is designed to examine the prevalence of self-injurious behaviours and suicide attempts among incarcerated males in Spain, and the factors associated with these behaviours. 201 men imprisoned in Spain completed anonymous self-report measures of demographic variables (e.g., age, marital status), the Triarchic Psychopathy Model (boldness, meanness, and disinhibition) and impulsive/premeditated aggression and aggressive behaviour (including physical, verbal, hostility, and anger). Official records were also consulted for information related to criminality (i.e., prior imprisonment and type of offence). Overall, 37.5% of residents reported having injured themselves at a time of anger or despair and 24.9% reported attempting suicide at any point in their lives. Lower scores in meanness, higher scores on impulsive aggression, serious illnesses and previous imprisonment were associated with an increased risk of self-injurious and/or suicide attempting behaviours. Being married acted as a protective factor of attempting suicide. Trait variables related to psychopathy (lower meanness) and aggression (higher impulsive aggression) were associated with increased frequency of suicide attempts in prisoners even after controlling for personal and criminal variables. The prevention of high rates of suicide in prisons needs the treatment of those cognitive variables in addition to more contextual personal and criminal variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102357
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Volume89
Early online date2 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Prison
  • Psychopathic traits
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide attempts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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