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The Interaction of Personal and Occupational Factors in the Suicide Deaths of Correction Officers

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 37 Issue: 7 Dated: 2020 Pages: 1277-1302
Date Published
25 pages

In the aftermath of a cluster of at least 20 suicides among correction officers working for a state department of correction, this study conducted the first extensive mixed-methods study of correction officer suicide.


Using a grounded theory approach, the study sought to better understand the ways in which personal and occupational factors may have contributed to the suicide deaths of the officers. Comprehensive case studies were conducted that involved reviewing each officer’s personnel file in its entirety, extracting administrative data to capture work experiences and violence exposures, and conducting interviews with family members and friends of the officers to better understand the personal and professional lives of those officers who had died by suicide. Through inductive analyses of the data collected, the study found that the interaction of personal and occupational risk factors with aspects of the occupational work culture best explained suicide among the observed cases. (Publisher Abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 2020