Category Archives: Suicide

New issue: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(4)


Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(4) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Medical evidence for the purposes of recall to hospital under Section 42(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983 – Ikechukwu Obialo Azuonye
  • Opening communicative space: A Habermasian understanding of a user-led participatory research project – Paul Godin; Jacqueline Davies; Bob Heyman; Lisa Reynolds; Alan Simpson; Mike Floyd
  • Risk typologies of serious harm offenders managed under MAPPA: Mental health, personality disorders, and self-harm as distinguishing risk factors – Joanne Wood
  • Homicide-suicide in the Netherlands: A study of newspaper reports, 1992 – 2005 – M. C. A. Liem; F. Koenraadt
  • Forensic inpatient male sexual offenders: The impact of personality disorder and childhood sexual abuse – Manuela Dudeck; Carsten Spitzer; Malte Stopsack; Harald J. Freyberger; Sven Barnow
  • HoNOS-secure: A reliable outcome measure for users of secure and forensic mental health services – Geoff Dickens; Philip Sugarman; Lorraine Walker
  • Parental schemas in youngsters referred for antisocial behaviour problems demonstrating depressive symptoms – Leen Van Vlierberghe; Benedikte Timbremont; Caroline Braet; Barbara Basile
  • The role and scope of forensic clinical psychology in secure unit provisions: A proposed service model for psychological therapies – Gisli H. Gudjonsson; Susan Young
  • On aggression and violence: An analytic perspective – Colin Campbell

New issue: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(3)


Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(3) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Theory of mind function, motor empathy, emotional empathy and schizophrenia: A single case study – Karen Addy; Karen Shannon; Kevin Brookfield
  • The development of a scale for measuring offence-related feelings of shame and guilt – Kim Wright; Gisli H. Gudjonsson
  • An audit of the association between the use of antipsychotic medication and bone density measurement in female patients within a special (high security) hospital – Jane Orr; Liz Jamieson
  • A study of forensic psychiatric screening reports and their relationship to full psychiatric reports – Pål Grøndahl; Stein E. Ikdahl; Alv A. Dahl
  • Staff responses to the therapeutic environment: A prospective study comparing burnout among nurses working on male and female wards in a medium secure unit – Rajan Nathan; Andrew Brown; Karen Redhead; Gill Holt; Jonathan Hill
  • Evaluating innovative treatments in forensic mental health: A role for single case methodology? – Jason Davies; Kevin Howells; Lawrence Jones
  • The identification and management of suicide risk in local prisons – Jane Senior; Adrian J. Hayes; Daniel Pratt; Stuart D. Thomas; Tom Fahy; Morven Leese; Andy Bowen; Greg Taylor; Gillian Lever-Green; Tanya Graham; Anna Pearson; Mukhtar Ahmed; Jenny J. Shaw
  • The validity of the Violence Risk Scale second edition (VRS-2) in a British forensic inpatient sample – Mairead Dolan; Rachael Fullam
  • Criminal barristers’ opinions and perceptions of mental health expert witnesses – Ophelia Leslie; Susan Young; Tim Valentine; Gisli Gudjonsson
  • The Michael Stone Inquiry: A somewhat different homicide report – Herschel Prins

Docuticker round-up

ex libris gul law reports collectionLatest criminal justice-related reports from Docuticker

Public School Practices for Violence Prevention and Reduction: 2003–04 (National Center for Education Statistics): “This Issue Brief (1) examines principals’ reports of the prevalence of formal practices in public schools designed to prevent or reduce school violence and (2) describes the distribution of these practices by selected school characteristics.”

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2005 Homicide Data (Violence Policy Center): “This annual report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender.”

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States (Human Rights Watch): “the first comprehensive study of US sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and the effect they have on former offenders and their families.”

Exploring the Drugs-Crime Connection within the Electronic Dance Music and Hip-Hop Nightclub Scenes (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware / National Institute of Justice): “This report explores how the cultural ethos, behavioral norms, activities, and individual and group identities (subcultural phenomena), inherent to the electronic dance music … and the hip hop/rap nightclub scenes … impact the relationship between alcohol, drugs, and crime, with additional attention to victimization.”

Building an Offender Reentry Program: A Guide for Law Enforcement (International Association of Chiefs of Police): “In an effort to determine the state of law enforcement’s participation in offender reentry initiatives, the International Association of Chiefs of Police partnered with OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to comprehensively examine law enforcement’s role in offender reentry initiatives.”

Suicide Trends Among Youths and Young Adults Aged 10–24 Years — United States, 1990–2004 (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC): “The report is an analysis of annual data from the CDC?s National Vital Statistics System”

Law Enforcement for Lawabiders (Police Foundation): “Why do people comply with the law? Professor Tracey Meares of Yale University explores the power of private social control in controlling and reducing crime.”

Violent Deaths and the National Violent Death Reporting System (CDC): “The National Violent Death Reporting System collects data on violent deaths from a variety of sources. Together, these sources offer a more comprehensive picture of the circumstances surrounding a homicide or suicide.”

Upward trend in racist crimes in at least 8 EU countries (European Parliament): “The report analyses discrimination in employment, housing and education across the 27 Member States.”

Minding Moral Responsibility (Engage, via SSRN): “… one of the most enduring areas of controversy in our criminal law involves questions about mitigation and the insanity defense.”

Fatal fires: fire-associated homicide in Australia, 1990-2005 (Australian Institute of Criminology)

2007 Annual Report on Organized crime in Canada (Criminal Intelligence Service Canada)

The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 (Gambling Commission UK)

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Quick links


Quick links from around the web and blogosphere:

Mind Hacks (12 July) discusses recent commentary by Bruce Schneier on why terrorism fails, who in turn is commenting on a paper [pdf] by Max Abrahms (abstract over at the Terrorism Blog)

Also thanks to Mind Hacks, a pointer to an article in the Journal of Forensic Sciences outlining the case histories of two serial killers, which, the authors say “illustrate the wide spectrum of variations in the backgrounds, demographics, motivations, and actions witnessed among serial murderers, and highlight the limitations and dangers of profiling based on generalities”.

Wray Herbert on the Association of Psychological Science blog We’re Only Human (10 July) explores the links between alcohol and aggression, the subject of an article in the latest issue of Psychological Science. Herbert concludes:

It appears that alcohol has the potential to both increase and decrease aggression, depending on where’s one’s attention is focused.

The Situationist (10 July) discuss what happens When Thieves See Situation: apparently con artists are exploiting information collected via the market research of major corporations, using it to target elderly victims:

Publicly held companies… compile and sell lists of consumers. Con artists purchase the lists from the companies’ websites, then pose as telemarketers in order to obtain senior citizens’ bank account numbers. Finally, the thieves use unsigned checks to steal money from the accounts.

What caused the drop in crime in the late 1990s? Stephen Levitt on the Freakonomics Blog, Johan Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex, and Steve Sailer on iSteve evaluate a theory put forward by Rick Nevin, an economist, as described in a recent Washington Post article (8 July):

The theory offered … is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children’s exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.

Providentia (15 July) ponders the phenomenon of copycat suicides in When Dying Becomes Fashionable.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 27 (15 July) is up over at Abyss2Hope

Update on a previous story: Anne Reed at the Deliberations jury blog carefully takes apart Bruce Spencer’s “juries get it wrong” study (pdf) to examine whether the conclusions are warranted, and lawyer Mark Bennett adds some further explanation.

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

Quick links from around the web


Some snippets from around the web that caught my eye this month:

Providentia’s Dr Romeo Vitelli (14 June) highlights a new article in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on Dating Violence, Sexual Assault Linked to Suicide Attempts in Teenagers.

Also recommended, Dr Vitelli’s post on the Tarasoff Decision, the ruling that when a client tells their therapist something that indicates that an identifiable individual may be at serious risk of harm from that client, the therapist has a duty to warn such a potential victims (see also this site).

Renowned eyewitness expert Professor Gary Wells provides some advice for law enforcement about best practice in line-ups (Nieman Watchdog, via CrimProfBlog, 13 June)

Mistaken eyewitness identification is the most common cause of the conviction of innocent people. Since 1992, there have been 200 definitive exonerations of people whose convictions were overturned using forensic DNA testing, and mistaken eyewitness testimony was involved in 154 of those cases. Scientists who study psychology have examined the mistaken identification problem and made recommendations regarding critical safeguards when conducting police lineups that can help prevent these mistakes.

Mind Hacks (23 June) links to an interesting article in Reason Magazine on neuroscience, mental health expert witnesses and insanity pleas:

By testifying in trials as expert witnesses, mental health professionals help us reclassify complicated moral and legal questions as seemingly clear-cut scientific matters. An endless stream of news stories about the latest advances in brain scans and the chemical conquest of personality enhances the experts’ credibility and feeds into a belief that we have come to a sophisticated understanding of the intersection between mind, brain, and behavior. […However,] despite all those popular accounts of high-tech tools for understanding the mind, the real role of psychiatry in the courts is far from objective and unimpeachable.

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 25 is up at Abyss2Hope (15 June).

Violence costs the US $7 billion each year, according to a study from Phaedra Corso, associate professor of health policy at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, and colleagues (University of Georgia Press release, 5 June):

The researchers found that most of the costs of violence stem from males and young adults. Sixty-eight percent of the costs from assaults and 63 percent of the costs from self-inflicted injuries were in males aged 15 to 44… “The most burdensome category is among young males who are victims of assaults with firearms,” Corso said. “So if you want to prevent those costs from occurring, you need to focus on prevention in that particular population.”

The Situationist Blog (7 June) featured a story about a nine-year-old professional video gamer known as Lil’ Poison:

Lil’ Poison is the world’s youngest known professional videogame player. He has earned thousands of dollars in tournaments across the globe, playing and excelling at games like the violent first-person shooter Halo 2. His success has drawn him much attention, as he has appeared on 60 Minutes, hired a publicist, and, in recent months, been the subject of a filmmaker’s documentary–all of which can be read about on his official website. Lambert’s story [in the New York Times] reflects on the possible pressures Lil’ Poison faces and examines the role of his father’s enthusiasm.

Also on the Situationist (21 June), some comments on deindividuation and the perpetrator of April’s Virginia Tech massacre:

In today’s Washington Post, Sari Horwtiz has a fascinating piece on Seung Hui Cho […] According to investigators, Cho, among other things, radically changed his identity in the days and weeks leading up to the shooting. […] His identity modifications included:

  • When Cho was ready for his shooting spree, he wrote “I am Ax Ishmael,” an identity thought to be based on the biblical figure Ishmael, who lived as an outcast.
  • Taking pictures of himself in poses associated with other persons, including those where he mimics the appearance of Jesus Christ on the cross and where he depicts himself as a soldier.
  • Eliminating any traces of his identity as Seung Hui Cho from his computer, such as by deleting his Hotmail account and removing his hard drive.
  • Methodically obtained weapons and clothing, such as the cargo pants he wore during the rampage, to become a “soldier.”

Photo credit: bigeoino, Creative Commons License

New issues: Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3)


The March/April and May/June 2007 issues of Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3) are now online. Follow the link to the Science Direct website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Issue 12(2) includes articles on female aggression, terrorism, aggressive driving, sex offenders, sexual homicide and suicide.

Issue 12(3) has papers on terrorism, aggressive behaviour, sex crimes, marital rape and other intimate partner violence and interventions for juvenile offenders with reading disabilities.

Contents below the fold.

Continue reading New issues: Aggression and Violent Behavior 12(2) and 12(3)

Homicide – suicide: An event hard to prevent and separate from homicide or suicide

Just published in Forensic Science International:

Suicide preceded by homicide is a rare but tragic event that often shocks the whole community. Annual rates show considerable variation, though not as great as the incidence of homicides. Within the industrialized nations, Finland’s prevalence rates for homicide–suicide have been mid-range. The National Suicide Prevention Project recorded and carefully analysed all suicides committed in Finland during a 12-month period. In this material of almost 1400 suicides, 10 verified homicide–suicide cases were found. The perpetrator was male in all but one case, and all the victims were family, 9/10 being spouses and/or children. The most typical homicide–suicide seemed to be a man shooting a family member during a separation process. No perpetrator was found suffering from a psychotic disorder but three had major depression. The homicide–suicides were compared with the suicides and statistically significant differences emerged in two variables: shooting was more often the method used in the homicide–suicide cases, which, furthermore, were more likely to involve a divorce or recent rupture in another long-term intimate relationship. Sharing few common variables with either homicide or suicide, homicide–suicide appears to be a distinct phenomenon whose prevention would seem to be extremely difficult on the individual level. Since shooting is the most common method of homicide–suicide, firearm licenses should be more restricted. Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd All rights reserved.


Recently published journal articles from non-forensic journals: Juvenile offending

Recently (and not so recently) published journal articles from non-forensic journals on the topic of juvenile offenders.

Assessing the Potential for Violent Behavior in Children and Adolescents – Russell Copelan. Pediatrics in Review. 27(5): May 2006

Latino High School Students’ Perceptions of Gangs and Crews – Edward M. Lopez, Alison Wishard, Ronald Gallimore, and Wendy Rivera. Journal of Adolescent Research 21(3): May 2006

Adolescents in Adult Court: Does the Punishment Fit the Criminal? – Peter Ash. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 34(2): June 2006

Mental Health Care in Juvenile Detention Facilities: A Review – Rani A. Desai, Joseph L. Goulet, Judith Robbins, John F. Chapman, Scott J. Migdole, and Michael A. Hoge. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 34(2): June 2006

Childhood and Violence in Advertising: A Current Perspective – Inmaculada Jose Martinez, Maria Dolores Prieto, and Juana Farfan. International Communication Gazette 68(3): June 2006

Factors Precipitating Suicidality among Homeless Youth: A Quantitative Follow-Up – Sean A. Kidd. Youth and Society 37(4): June 2006

A Rasch Differential Item Functioning Analysis of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument: Identifying Race and Gender Differential Item Functioning Among Juvenile Offenders – Elizabeth Cauffman and Randall MacIntosh. Educational and Psychological Measurement 66(3): June 2006

Mental health needs of young offenders in custody and in the community – Prathiba Chitsabesan, Leo Kroll, Sue Bailey, Cassandra Kenning, Stephanie Sneider, Wendy Macdonald, & Louise Theodosiou. British Journal of Psychiatry 188(6): June 2006

Motivational Interviewing With Dually Diagnosed Adolescents in Juvenile Justice Settings – Sarah W. Feldstein and Joel. I. D. Ginsburg. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 6(3): June 2006

Custodial interrogation, false confession and individual differences: A national study among Icelandic youth – G.H. Gudjonsson, J.F. Sigurdsson, B.B. Asgeirsdottir, I.D. Sigfusdottir. Personality and Individual Differences 41(1): July 2006

Rape at US Colleges Often Fueled by Alcohol – Thomas B. Cole. Journal of the American Medical Association 296(5): 2 August 2006

Exposure to Degrading Versus Nondegrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth – Steven C. Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Marc N. Elliott, Amy Strachman, David E. Kanouse, and Sandra H. Berry. Pediatrics 118(2): 2 August 2006

Assessing Columbine’s Impact on Students’ Fourth Amendment Case Outcomes: Implications for Administrative Discretion and Decision Making – Mario S. Torres, Jr. and Yihsuan Chen. NASSP Bulletin. 2006; 90(3): September 2006

The co-occurrence of adolescent boys’ and girls’ use of psychologically, physically, and sexually abusive behaviours in their dating relationships – Heather A. Sears, E. Sandra Byers and E. Lisa Price. Journal of Adolescence, In Press

Neighborhood-Level Factors and Youth Violence: Giving Voice to the Perceptions of Prominent Neighborhood Individuals – Michael A. Yonas, Patricia O’Campo, Jessica G. Burke, and Andrea C. Gielen. Health Education and Behavior, in press

    Four forensic related items in the latest BPS Research Digest

    No fewer than four interesting forensic-related items in the latest BPS Research Digest.

    First, a summary of some research on how death penalty case jurors weight extra-legal factors, such as defendant appearance (sorry vs bored, for instance), when deciding whether or not to choose the death penalty over life imprisonment.

    Second, a study of bias by fingerprint experts highlighting how contextual features influence their judgements too.

    Third, a note on recent Scottish research on Goth subculture, suicide and self harm. This research has been reported pretty shoddily in the popular press (as pointed out by MindHacks here), but the BPS digest gives a balanced summary of the results.

    Finally, a summary of some research exploring (and countering) the controversial theory that how mothers think about their difficult children might actually be contributing to the children’s conduct problems.

    Full details of all these studies are at the BPS Research Digest blog. If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up for this fortnightly digest here.

    Practice makes deadly perfection, FSU suicide researcher says

    Florida State University press release: 11-Jan-2006

    Every year, close to 1 million people around the world kill themselves. Florida State University Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology Thomas Joiner has spent much of his career trying to find out why.

    […] “There’s an idea that suicide is a mode of death that stands apart from others, but there are clear reasons why people die by suicide,” said Joiner, an internationally recognized suicide expert. “Just like heart disease, if you understand it, you can prevent it.”

    In a groundbreaking theory outlined in his new book, “Why People Die By Suicide,” (Harvard University Press), Joiner says that those who kill themselves not only want to die, they have learned to overcome the instinct for self-preservation.