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Severity of personality disorders and suicide attempt


Enrique Baca-Garcia, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, 1051 Riverside Drive, Suite 2719/Unit 42, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Objective:  Severity of personality disorders (PDs) may be more useful in estimating suicide risk than the diagnosis of specific PDs. We hypothesized that suicide attempters with severe PD would present more attempts and attempts of greater severity/lethality.

Method:  Four hundred and forty-six suicide attempters were assessed. PD diagnosis was made using the International Personality Disorder Questionnaire – Screening Questionnaire. PDs were classified using Tyrer and Johnson’s classification of severity (no PD, simple PD, diffuse PD). Severity/lethality of attempts was measured with the Suicide Intent Scale, Risk-Rescue Rating Scale and Lethality Rating Scale.

Results:  Attempters with severe (diffuse) PD had more attempts than the other groups. After controlling for age and gender, this difference remained significant only for the younger age group and women. There was no relationship between severity of PDs and severity/lethality of attempts.

Conclusion:  Younger female attempters with severe PD are prone to repeated attempts. However, the severity of PD was not related to the severity/lethality of suicide attempts.