A typology of parasuicide

Parasuicide is not a single syndrome. Subtypes at present recognized are based largely on clinically derived stereotypes. When considering a series of patients, the clinician is unable to handle more than a few attributes at a time. This paper describes the application of three very different clustering algorithms to a material of 350 treated parasuicide patients. Mathematically, three types emerge. Clinically, two of these are interpretable and make sense. The types established are: I (n = 107) a group not characterized by any of the variables we examined; this group is a puzzle, mainly because the reasons for the parasuicidal act are not clear. II (n = 132) a depressed, alienated group with high life-endangerment. III (n = III) a group whose act was highly operant: they felt alienated and were angry with others. These groups did not differ significantly on demographic variables. The usefulness of this typology, particularly for management, after-care and prevention, has now to be assessed.

  • Henderson A S
  • Hartigan J
  • Davidson J
  • Lance G N
  • Duncan-Jones P
  • Koller K M
  • Ritchie K
  • McAuley H
  • Williams C L
  • Slaghuis W


  • Brit J Psychiat