Temperament and character of suicide attempters

Raffaella Calati, Ina Giegling, Dan Rujescu, Annette M Hartmann, Hans-Jürgen Möller, Diana De Ronchi, Alessandro Serretti
Journal of Psychiatric Research 2008, 42 (11): 938-45
Temperamental features are strongly associated with suicidal behaviors both in general population and clinical samples. In the present study we considered the association between personality traits, measured by Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), and suicidal behavior. We analyzed five samples: a German control sample of 1148 healthy individuals; 144 German suicide attempters affected by Mood (n=101), Schizophrenia spectrum (n=20) and Borderline Personality (n=23) Disorders; 46 Italian suicide attempters affected by Mood Disorders (UP=15; BP=31); 76 German non-suicide Mood Disorder patients; 147 Italian non-suicide Mood Disorder patients. Suicide attempters showed higher scores in Harm Avoidance (HA) and lower scores in Self-Directedness (SD) and Cooperativeness (C), when compared to controls. Nevertheless, comparing the German and the Italian suicide attempter groups with the non-suicide Mood Disorder patient groups, no differences were detected. This could be due to the effect of Mood Disorder on personality. In conclusion, the present study reveals the difficulty to disentangle the personality profile of suicide attempters from their psychopathology. Those findings may be useful for cautions in further dissecting this complex phenotype.

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