Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Personality and Suicide

  • David Lester
  • John F. Gunn III
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_2326-1


The term suicide can be used both narrowly and broadly. In the narrow sense, suicide refers to the actions of people who possess a mature concept of death and who kill themselves intentionally. In the broad sense, the suicidal impulse may operate unconsciously and motivate such behaviors as substance abuse and risk-taking behaviors that increase the probability of death. Other individuals engage in self-destructive acts but survive: attempted suicides, parasuicides, or deliberate self-injurers.

There are many factors which may contribute to an individual choosing to die by suicide, including genetic and biochemical factors, childhood experiences, interpersonal relationships and stressors. This entry focuses on personality factors.

Psychiatric Disorder

The most notable personal characteristicassociated with suicide is psychiatric disturbance. Persons with an affective disorder (e.g., depression or bipolar disorder) have a very high suicide rate. Those with schizophrenia...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyStockton UniversityGallowayUSA
  2. 2.Montclair State UniversityMontclairUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Virgil Zeigler-Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Oakland UniversityRochesterUSA