Suicide attempts and personality disorder

K H Suominen, E T Isometsä, M M Henriksson, A I Ostamo, J K Lönnqvist
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2000, 102 (2): 118-25

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to compare clinical characteristics of suicide attempters with or without personality disorders.

METHOD: A systematic sample (n = 114) of patients from consecutive cases of attempted suicide referred to general hospitals in Helsinki was interviewed and diagnosed according to DSM-III-R. Forty-six subjects with DSM-III-R personality disorders were identified and divided into clusters A (n = 4), B (n = 34) and C (n = 8). These subjects were compared with 65 suicide attempters without personality disorders in terms of clinical characteristics and treatment received.

RESULTS: Suicide attempters with personality disorders more often had a history of previous suicide attempts and lifetime psychiatric treatment than comparison subjects. However, suicide attempts did not differ in terms of suicide intent, hopelessness, lethality or impulsiveness between subjects with or without personality disorders.

CONCLUSION: Although suicidal behaviour is a more persistent feature among those with personality disorders, their clinical characteristics at the time of a suicide attempt may not differ from those without personality disorders.

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