Detecting and predicting self-harm behaviour in prisoners: a prospective psychometric analysis of three instruments
- 369 Downloads
Research has revealed high levels of suicide and self-harm within young adult prisoners, but many studies have not considered the applicability and validity of its measurement for both male and female prisoners. Previous studies have focused on retrospective evaluations of instruments which are not useful evidence in informing clinical practice and decision making.
To evaluate the validation and prediction of suicide and self-harm risk in young adult prisoners.
The study was divided into two stages. Stage one used a cross-sectional design of 1,166 prisoners across six HM Prisons to validate the use of three questionnaires: the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Hopelessness Scale and a newly devised instrument (SCOPE tool). The second stage assessed the predictive validity of the three instruments using a 4-year-follow-up study of female prisoners across two HM Prisons in UK. Self-report and official records were used to measure suicide and self-harm risk. Logistic regression methodology, receiver operator characteristic curves and Youden’s index were used to determine the range of thresholds for the three tools.
Self-report measurement of suicide and self-harm behaviour using the three instruments presented a range of sensitivity and specificity values (65.9–72.3% and 64.9–74.0%, respectively). Predictive measurement of suicide and self-harm behaviour in the follow-up study presented a range of sensitivity and specificity values (54.6–80% and 62.2–69.4%, respectively).
Screening for self-harm and suicidal behaviour in young prisoners has generated a range of cut off points for the identification of those at risk. These serve as a bench mark for service planners and practitioners.
KeywordsScreening Suicide Self-harm Prisoners Assessment
Ethical approval was provided by each Governor at the prisons and the Ethics Committee, Department of Psychology, University of York. The authors would also like to thank the support of Mathew Johnson for his assistance with collecting the follow-up data for this project.
Conflict of interest statement
- 4.Beck AT, Rush AJ, Shaw BF, Emery G (1979) Cognitive therapy of depression. Guildford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- 5.Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK (1996) BDI-II manual, 2nd edn. The Psychological Corporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar
- 8.Crighton DA, Towl GJ (1997) Self inflicted deaths in prison in England and Wales. An analysis of the data from 1988–1990 and 1994–1995. In: Towl GJ (ed) Suicide and self injury in prisons: issues in criminological and legal psychology. The British Psychological Society, LeicesterGoogle Scholar
- 13.Home Office (1999) Suicide is everyones concern: a thematic review by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales. Research, Development and Statistics Department, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 14.Howard League for Penal Reform (2006) Prison weekly reports. http://www.howardleague.org/index.php?id=112. Accessed on 28th December 2006
- 15.Lader D, Singleton N, Meltzer H (1998) Psychiatric morbidity among young offenders in England and Wales. Office of National Statistics, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 19.Perry AE (2005) Suicide and self-harm risk in offenders: the development of a new psychometric scale. University of York, PhD ThesisGoogle Scholar
- 20.Perry AE, Olason DT (2008) A new psychometric instrument assessing vulnerability to risk of suicide and self-harm behaviour in offenders: SCOPE. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. doi:10.1177/0306624x08319418
- 24.White P, Cullen C, Minchris M (1999) Prison population brief. Research Development Statistics. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/prisdec99.pdf. Accessed 28th December 2006