Personality and attempted suicide. Analysis of anger, aggression and impulsivity

Ina Giegling, Paolo Olgiati, Annette M Hartmann, Raffaella Calati, Hans-Jürgen Möller, Dan Rujescu, Alessandro Serretti
Journal of Psychiatric Research 2009, 43 (16): 1262-71
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, mortality from suicide being approximately 2%. Attempted suicide appears to be a major risk factor for suicide completion. Anger, aggression and impulsivity are personality traits associated with suicide attempt. In this study we analysed a part of a previously reported sample in order to test anger, impulsivity and temperament/character scales as predictors of aggression and self-aggression in suicide attempters and to compare anger- and aggression-related traits between impulsive and premeditated suicide attempts as well as between violent and non-violent suicide methods. One-hundred-eleven consecutively admitted inpatients with a lifetime history of attempted suicide were assessed for anger (State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, STAXI), aggression (Questionnaire for Measuring Factors of Aggression, FAF) and temperament/character (Temperament and Character Inventory, TCI). Higher aggression scores, as measured by FAF, were predicted by being male, meeting criteria for borderline personality disorder and having higher angry temperament scores as assessed by STAXI; low cooperativeness was also associated with aggression but not after controlling for STAXI scales. TCI dimensions associated with self-aggression were high harm avoidance, high impulsivity and low self-directedness; state anger, inwardly directed anger and inhibition of aggression were also predictors of self-aggression. In conclusion, impulsivity and harm avoidance have emerged as temperament dimensions independently associated with self-aggressive tendencies in personality. Such interactions could explain the correlation between temperament and suicidality but further research is needed. Anger and self-directedness appear to have some effects on suicide attempt.

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