Suicidality and Psychopathology Among Incarcerated Russian Juvenile Delinquents

Incarcerated adolescents may be at particular risk for suicidal ideation and behavior for a variety of reasons. To test characteristics of incarcerated adolescents, their parents, and their histories that may be predictive of suicidality, Ruchkin et al. (2003) assessed 271 14- to 19-year-old inmates of a Russian detention center.

The assessments included the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (Kiddie-SADS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), and the YSR. Self-reports of parental rearing characteristics and exposure to violence were also obtained.

Many of the measures were significantly associated with suicidal ideation and behavior. Suicide attempters had the highest rates of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, followed by suicide ideators. Of the quantitative measures, the YSR Attention Problems syndrome had the strongest association with suidicality, followed by the YSR Anxious/Depressed syndrome, a history of violent victimization, and the BDI. The authors observed that “although some diagnoses clearly represent risk for suicidality, the presence of categorical diagnosis is a very non-specific marker” (p. 1064).

Reference: Ruchkin, V.V., Schwab-Stone, M., Koposov, R.A., Vermeiren, R., & King, R.A. (2003). Suicidal ideations and attempts in juvenile delinquents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 1058-1066.