Objective: Although in international studies, it has been reported to be the sixth most common method of suicide, self-Immolation is reported to be one of the most common methods of suicide in Iran. Considering the differences in epidemiological and psychiatric characteristics of suicide in different societies, we aimed to determine the psychological characteristics of those patients who attempted suicide by setting themselves on fire in Kermanshah in order to develop preventive measures against this tragic form of self harm
Methods: In a cross-sectional study in 2003, 227 in-patients of a burn unit in Kermanshah who had attempted suicide by self-immolation were screened out for mental illness. One hundred and ninety seven of them were subsequently assessed psychologically by using DSM-IV criteria.
Results: Eighty one and half percent of the patients were female with a mean age of 27.1. The majority of the patients were married and unemployed. Most of them were living in urban areas. Twenty one percent of the patients had a history of chronic physical illness and 59.9% a history of depression. Somatoform disorders were detected in 36.5% of the cases and substance misuse in 7.5%. There was a 17.6% past history of deliberate selfharm in the patients and 20% in the family members. Suicide by self-burning had been precipitated by marital conflicts in 33.9% of the cases and by family conflicts in 23.2%. There was a high rate of mortality among the patients (50.2%).
Conclusion: Although most of the risk factors for suicide in our population were similar to what is already known in the literature, we found that married women in Kermanshah province were particularly at higher risk of killing themselves by the method of self immolation.
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