The association between childhood trauma and lifetime suicide attempts among a sample of male prisoners: A pilot observational study

Enrico Capuzzi, Alice Caldiroli, Filippo Besana, Ilaria Tagliabue, Martina Capellazzi, Francesca Cova, Paola Rubelli, Maria Ripalta Sergio, Emanuele Truisi, Massimiliano Buoli, Massimo Clerici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Prisoners have higher rates of suicide attempts compared with general population. A history of childhood trauma (CT) is common among incarcerated subjects and it is a well-known risk factor for lifetime suicide attempts. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to investigate whether lifetime suicide attempts may be related to the exposition to CT among male prisoners. Method: We conducted a cross sectional study recruiting newly arrived inmates in an Italian jail, between January 2017 and June 2018. Prisoners were interviewed to collect socio-demographic and clinical information. Moreover, inmates completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. We excluded prisoners unable to speak or read Italian, with learning disabilities or current severe psychiatric symptoms. Results: A total of 215 consecutive male inmates were included. Fifty-one prisoners (23.7%) had a history of attempted suicide. The most reported CT was physical neglect. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that a history of childhood sexual abuse, emotional neglect and psychiatric diagnosis significantly increased the likelihood of lifetime suicide attempt. Conclusions: A previous history of suicide attempt is highly prevalent among inmates. In agreement with previous findings, lifetime suicide attempts seem to be associated with the presence of CT and psychiatric diagnosis. Therefore, CT should be considered as a relevant variable to improve the programs for the prevention of suicide in prison.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102180
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Volume80
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Childhood trauma
  • Mental disorder
  • Prisoners
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Suicide attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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