Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Completed suicide: a taxonomic analysis of clinical and social data

Christopher Bagleya1 c1, Solomon Jacobsona1 and Ann Rehina1

a1 Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford and St Francis Hospital, Haywards Heath, Sussex


A post mortem enquiry has been made into the social family and clinical circumstances of 50 individuals who, according to a coroner's verdict, killed themselves in Brighton. A dimensional analysis of the 123 variables thus collected suggested the possibility of three distinct types of suicide: ‘depressive suicide’, ‘sociopathic suicide’ and ‘physical illness suicide’. The reliability of this typology has been checked by the analysis of 55 selected variables for a total of 193 cases considered by the same coroner. A cluster analysis has confirmed that the data contain at least three independent types of suicide. Some implications for the prevention of suicide are discussed.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Christopher Bagley, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford.