Psychosocial factors and completed suicide in personality disorders


Martti Heikkinen, Department of Mental Health, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland


The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships between personality disorders (PD) and various psychosocial factors in a random sample (n= 229) of suicides with psychological autopsy-based DSM-III-R diagnoses representing the total 1-year suicide population in Finland.

Background social factors and social interaction factors for 56 suicide victims with a PD diagnosis were compared with those of 56 age- and sex-matched non-PD suicide victims. The groups were similar with regard to marital status, socio-economic status, parental divorce, broken home before the age of 16 years, parental suicide attempts, and proportion of subjects living with parents. The PD suicide victims had more commonly had a companion of the opposite sex, lived alone, and resided in an urban area, but had less often experienced parental psychiatric hospitalization during their childhood. Although the groups did not differ with regard to complaints of loneliness before suicide, the lonely PD suicide victims had experienced more interpersonal loss and/or conflict than the lonely non-PD suicide victims. The PD suicide victims were very similar with regard to psychosocial factors, irrespective of sex, age, Axis-I comorbidity, or the cluster type of the PD. Only living alone was more common in young PD suicide victims, and male PD subjects had less often had confidants or friends with whom they shared common interests.