Suicidal ideation and its correlates in prisoners: a comparative study in China

Jie Zhang, Virginia E Grabiner, Yong Zhou, Ning Li
Crisis 2010, 31 (6): 335-42

BACKGROUND: Suicide is one of the leading causes of prisoners' death, and, as a group, inmates have higher suicide rates than their community counterparts. However, the prevalence of suicidal ideation among Chinese inmates and their risks of suicide remain unknown.

AIMS: This study investigates the prevalence of suicidal ideation among Chinese incarcerated populations and its risk and protective factors.

METHODS: We randomly selected three types of prisoners (N = 690) and a sample of college students (n = 248) from four correction facilities and a police academy in China. A self-report questionnaire with standardized scales translated from the West was administered to the samples.

RESULTS: The prevalence of suicidal ideation among Chinese inmates is similar to that found among inmates in the West. The correlates of suicidal ideation for the Chinese inmates are also in line with what has been found in general populations.

CONCLUSIONS: It is suggested that Chinese inmates have the same risk factors and protective factors for suicidal ideation as the general population in China. Suicide prevention in Chinese prisons can learn from and inform suicide prevention work for the general population.

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