A recent study conducted by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden showed that habitual criminal offenders between the ages of 15-19 are 3x more likely to commit suicide than those of the same age who have not been convicted of a crime during this period. The researchers confirmed that the correlation is straightforward even when controlling for factors like substance abuse.
For the study, which is published online in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers examined almost one million young people born between 1972 and 1981, and then followed them up with respect to suicide up to the ages of 25 -- 34.
The results show a correlation between suicide risk and number of convictions, with a peak being reached at five or more. The group also included young people who had received more severe sentences, such as prison or probation. The same pattern was observed amongst young males and females, although the suicide rate was higher for the former (Karolinska Institutet, 2011)
Indeed, the researchers controlled for numerous other variables such as adoption, mental illness of parents, receipt of social assistance, etc. Even when controlling for all these factors, juvenile delinquency was highly correlated with risk of suicide.
Karolinska Institutet. (2011, September 14). Juvenile delinquency linked to higher suicide risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914105757.htm