Temperament traits in male suicide attempters and violent offenders

G Engström, B Persson, S Levander
European Psychiatry: the Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists 1999, 14 (5): 278-83
With the purpose of comparing temperament traits in subjects who have been violent towards others and with subjects who have shown self-directed violence, 34 male suicide attempters and 34 male violent offenders were matched for age and psychiatric diagnosis. Violent offenders with a history of suicide attempts were excluded. Temperament traits were assessed by means of the Karolinska Scales of Personality. The temperament profiles of suicide attempters and violent offenders were very similar, with high trait anxiety and very low socialization. Violent offenders displayed significantly higher social desirability (P < 0.001). Suicide attempters tended to have higher indirect aggression and monotony avoidance. Impulsiveness, verbal aggression, and inhibition of aggression were within the normal range in both groups. There were substantial temperamental similarities between suicide attempters and violent offenders. In order to disentangle the differential mechanisms behind aggression towards self and others, we probably need to consider historical as well as current situation factors in a systematic way.

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