Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 113–124 | Cite as

Suicidal Behavior After Severe Trauma. Part 2: The Association Between Methods of Torture and of Suicidal Ideation in Posttraumatic Stress Disotrder

  • Marcello Ferrada-Noli
  • Marie Asberg
  • Kari Ormstad


The study reports on 65 refugees with diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and manifest suicidal behavior (40% had suicide attempts; 29% detailed suicide plan; 31% recurrent suicidal thoughts). Our hypothesis was that the predominant kind of stressful experience in PTSD patients might be reflected in their choice of method when pondering or attempting suicide. Relationships were found to exist between the main stressors and the respective subjects' preference for suicide method. Particularly among PTSD patients with a history of torture, an association was found between the torture methods that the victim had been exposed to, and the suicide method used in ideation or attempts. Blunt force applied to the head and body was associated with jumping from a height or in front of trains, water torture with drowning, or sharp force torture with methods involving self-inflicted stabbing or cutting. Relationships between main stressors and content of suicidal ideation are discussed.

posttraumatic stress PTSD torture suicidal behavior refugees 


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Copyright information

© International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcello Ferrada-Noli
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marie Asberg
    • 2
  • Kari Ormstad
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social MedicineHarvard Medical SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TromsøUSA
  3. 3.The Karolinska InstituteUSA

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