Date: 19 Nov 2004

Suicide attempts and impulsivity

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Abstract

Impulsivity in suicidal behavior can describe the attempt (state) or the attempter (trait). There are no studies simultaneously measuring attempt impulsivity and attempter impulsivity in representative samples of suicide attempts. A one–year study of 278 suicide attempts in a general hospital tested the continuous versus dichotomous relationship between attempter impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and attempt impulsivity (low scores in the planning subscale of Beck’s Suicidal Intent Scale). Attempter impulsivity was not a good predictor of attempt impulsivity independently of how both dimensions were measured (continuous or dichotomous ways). Impulsive attempts were associated with low lethality and lack of depression. Opportunities for prevention of suicide attempts in major depression and some personality traits may exist but require attentive monitoring of suicidal ideation and intent.