• alexithymia;
  • depression;
  • suicide attempt;
  • suicidal intent.

Taiminen TJ, Saarijärvi S, Helenius H, Keskinen A, Korpilahti T. Alexithymia in suicide attempters. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1996: 93: 195–198. © Munksgaard 1996.

Alexithymia seems to share some common features with psychological constriction, a phenomenon described in suicidal individuals. Fifty suicide attempters were interviewed within 24 h after arrival at a hospital, and measures of lethality of the attempt, suicidal intent, depression and alexithymia were carried out with structured instruments. Almost all the attempters were depressive, and about half of them were also alexithymic. However, alexithymia was not more prevalent in this population than in non-suicidal depressive patients. Depression and alexithymia correlated significantly with each other, but there was no correlation between alexithymia and lethality of the suicide attempt or suicidal intent. The authors conclude that alexithymia in suicide attempters seems to be associated with depression, but not with suicidality per se. Therefore, measurement of alexithymia may not yield extra information in suicide risk assessment.