Date of Award:

1976

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

David R. Stone

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Keith Checketts

Abstract

This study was designed to understand and identify prison male inmates who had attempted suicide in their history prior to their incarceration. The objectives were (1) the comparison of inmates who had indicated that they had attempted suicide in their past, referred to as "suicide attempt inmates," with inmates who had not, referred to as "non-suicide attempt inmates," on 33 behavioral and personal variables; (2) The development of a suicide attempt scale by means of an item analysis on the responses of suicide attempt and non-suicide inmates to the items of the Bipolar Psychological Inventory (BPI). This scale was named the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale; (3) The development of a comp o site suicide attempt scale; the components selected for this scale would be the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale, and/or one or more of the 33 personal and behavioral variables. This scale w9 s named the Criminal Suicide Attempt Scale.

Based on an original and a replication sample of suicide attempt inmates and non-suicide attempt inmates at the Utah State Prison, with those in the original sample being younger, the findings were: (1) of the 33 personal and behavioral variables only one of them, prior drug use, differentiated each of the two groups within each of the two samples; several other different ones of them differentiated each of the two groups within each of the two samples; (2) BPI Suicide Attempt Scale, derived from the Bipolar Psychological Inventory which the inmates at the prison take usually soon after their incarceration, and developed on the two groups of the original sample, was able to differentiate the two groups of the replication sample at the .001 level; (3) The Criminal Suicide Attempt Scale, which consisted of two weighted components, drug use variable and the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale, correlated .38 with the suicide attempt vs. non-suicide attempt inmates of the replication sample and it was shown to have moderate accuracy in identifying suicide attempt inmates.

In an attempt to further validate the developed BPI Suicide Attempt Scale, a supplementary study was included in this dissertation. It concerned the use of this scale on male inmates at the Utah State Prison who had attempted suicide at the prison, referred to as "prison suicide attempters." It compared their scores on this scale with those of the two groups of the replication sample, and related their scores on the scales of the Bipolar Psychological Inventory (BPI) and a risk rating. The findings were (1) derived from their BPI, the scores on the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale of the prison suicide attempters and of the non-suicide attempt inmates differed significantly at the . 02 level. The mean score of the prison suicide attempters was essentially the same as that of the suicide attempt inmates of the replication sample; (2) the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale scores of the prison suicide attempters correlated positively and significantly with their scores on 8 scales of the BPI. Six of these scales, depression, self-degradation, impulsiveness, psychic pain, family discord and dependence are related to factors indicated in the literature of suicidology to be associated with suicidal individuals; (3) the BPI Suicide Attempt Scale scores of the prison suicide attempters did not correlate with their risk factors scores on the risk-rescue rating of Weisman and Worden (1974).

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