Suicide in Psychiatric Hospitals: Selected Results of a Study on Suicides Committed During Treatment in Five Psychiatric Hospitals in Southern Germany with Special Regard to Therapy Success and Presuicidal Symptoms

  • M. G. Wolfersdorf
  • R. Vogel
  • G. Hole
Conference paper


Reports on suicide in psychiatric institutions have appeared intermittently in the psychological literature ever since the mid-nineteenth century (Wolfersdorf et al. 1986). Since the beginning of the 1950s, there has been a considerable accumulation of studies on the problem of clinic suicide (for general surveys, cf. Grandel 1978; Finzen 1984; Wolfersdorf 1984; Wolfersdorf et al. 1984 etc.). These studies are aimed at:
  1. 1.

    Determining whether suicide rates in psychiatric institutions are rising,

  2. 2.

    Describing the patient group that is most likely to commit suicide during inpatient treatment and after discharge.

Table 1 provides an overall view of suicide rates (primarily of inpatients) in various countries and hospitals. Most of these studies appeared in North America and describe the suicides and suicide rates in a selected number of psychiatric institutions of a single country. These date are supplemented by hospital reports as well as by data from the patient population of a private practitioner. The Suicide rates per 100000 patient population, which apply primarily to psychiatric inpatients and to newly admitted patients, range from 34 to 380 and thus for the most part correspond to the rates calculated in other countries. The methodological problems involved in studying clinic suicides will not be treated here in any detail; interested readers should consult the summarizing discussions in Finzen (1983) as well as Wolfersdorf (1984).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. G. Wolfersdorf
  • R. Vogel
  • G. Hole

There are no affiliations available

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