American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 34, Issue 1–2, pp 41–53 | Cite as

Suicide in Police Work: Exploring Potential Contributing Influences

  • John M. Violanti
  • Desta Fekedulegn
  • Luenda E. Charles
  • Michael E. Andrew
  • Tara A. Hartley
  • Anna Mnatsakanova
  • Cecil M. Burchfiel


Police officers are considered at increased risk for suicide. The objective of this study was to explore potential influences on suicide ideation among 105 randomly selected men and women urban police officers. Depression, gender, and marital status appeared to be most strongly associated with police suicidal ideation. Depressive symptoms were higher among women than men officers (12.5 percent vs. 6.2 percent). For each standard deviation increase in depressive symptoms, the prevalence ratio (PR) of suicide ideation increased 73 percent in women (PR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.32–2.27) and 67 percent in men (PR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.21–2.30). The association between depression and ideation was stronger among unmarried women officers (PR = 4.43; 95% CI = 2.19 – 8.91) than married women officers (PR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.09 – 1.79). While depression has previously been associated with suicide, such results are unusual in a healthy working population such as the police.


Police Suicide Depression Gender Occupational stress 


Grant Sponsor

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Contract number



The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Violanti
    • 1
  • Desta Fekedulegn
    • 2
  • Luenda E. Charles
    • 2
  • Michael E. Andrew
    • 2
  • Tara A. Hartley
    • 2
  • Anna Mnatsakanova
    • 2
  • Cecil M. Burchfiel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health & Health ProfessionsState University of NY at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Biostatistics and Epidemiology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMorgantownUSA

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