Some of the literature on the interrelationships between suicidal acts, accidents, surgical operations and other forms of violent experience is reviewed.
It was postulated that persons making suicidal attempts would, more commonly than non-suicidal controls, have encountered violent experiences during their life-time. To test this hypothesis, 50 persons attempting suicide were compared with 50 non-suicidal psychiatric patients and with 50 healthy persons attending a chest clinic. The groups were matched for age, sex and social class.
Using a questionnaire, all relevant data were recorded. Classes of violent experience were graded numerically on a basis of severity and on the degree of responsibility of the person involved. It was found that the suicidal patients had significantly higher violence scores than either control group, a finding which remained significant when previous suicidal attempts were excluded from the score. The possible implications of this finding are discussed.