J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2021 Feb;60(1):61-69. 10.4306/jknpa.2021.60.1.61.

Psychological Autopsy of Suicide Victims between Interview Methods through Their Family Members versus Review of Their Police Investigation Records

  • 1Korea Psychological Autopsy Center (KPAC), Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


This study compared the psychological autopsies of suicide victims through interviews of the bereaved family members and investigations of the police death records.
A psychological autopsy was performed using both the Korea Psychological Autopsy Checklist (K-PAC) through an interview of the bereaved family members and the Korea Psychological Autopsy Checklist for Police Record (K-PAC-PR) from the police death records at the same suicide victims. The frequency and percentage of each analysis item were checked, and the information collected was compared.
Of 129 victims, information from two methods showed no significant differences in marital status, employment status, cohabitation status and relationship, location of suicide, method of suicide, and main cause. Among the stress information at the time of death, interpersonal and mental health problems were consistent, but the occupational, economy, family-related, physical health problems were estimated to have greater impact according to the interview methods. The estimates of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dementia were consistent, but the investigation method estimated more sleep disorders and anxiety disorders, and the interview methods estimated more drug use disorders.
Based on the analysis results, the two methods of a psychological autopsy should be properly utilized, and effective suicide prevention using the psychological autopsy information was discussed.


Psychological autopsy; Suicide prevention; Mental health
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