Original Research

Suicide risk of male State patients with antisocial personality traits

Hendrik S. Bosman, Charl Janse van Rensburg, Gian Lippi
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 26 | a1543 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v26i0.1543 | © 2020 Hendrik S. Bosman, Charl Janse van Rensburg, Gian Lippi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 April 2020 | Published: 26 October 2020

About the author(s)

Hendrik S. Bosman, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Charl Janse van Rensburg, Biostatistics Unit, South African Medicine Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa
Gian Lippi, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Suicide mortality rates are higher in people with personality disorders, especially those who have antisocial personality traits. These mortality rates are also higher in people who have committed offences. Antisocial personality traits are very common in populations who have committed offences and in forensic psychiatric patients.

Aim: To determine if male State patients with antisocial personality traits had a higher risk of suicide compared with patients with no antisocial personality traits. We tried to identify other risk factors for attempted suicide in this population.

Setting: Weskoppies Hospital’s Forensic Unit, Pretoria, South Africa.

Methods: Of the 275 male State patients, 37 had antisocial personality traits and were included in the study. Of the remaining State patients, we randomly selected 37 control group participants, who had no antisocial personality traits. For each participant, we completed a data capturing sheet and a Beck’s Suicide Ideation Scale (BSIS). We compared suicide risk and associated factors between study and control group participants.

Results: Study group and control group participants had the same current suicide risk. Overall, 63 participants (85.14%) had no current suicide risk. Of the 11 (14.86%) remaining participants with current suicide risk, 5 had antisocial personality traits. Eighteen had previous suicide attempts, 13 of whom had antisocial personality traits.

Conclusion: State patients with and without antisocial personality traits had similar current suicide risk. Although antisocial personality disorder is an identified risk factor for suicide, it was not the case in this study. Assessment of other risk factors for suicide should be prioritised.


Keywords

suicide risk; antisocial personality disorder; forensic psychiatric population; Beck’s Suicide Ideation Scale (BSIS); antisocial personality traits

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