Personality and psychotic symptoms as predictors of self-harm and attempted suicide

Valentina Del Bello, Norma Verdolini, Luca Pauselli, Luigi Attademo, Francesco Bernardini, Roberto Quartesan, Patrizia Moretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Nonfatal suicidal behaviours (NSB), including suicide ideation, suicide plan and suicide attempt, constitute a serious problem for public healthcare services. Suicide gesture (SG) which refers to self-injurious behaviour with no intent to die, differs from NSB in a variety of important ways. The aim of this study was to investigate demographic and clinical characteristics of NSB and SG to examine whether self-injurers with intent to die differ significantly from self injurers without such intent.

METHODS: All admissions for NSB and SG to the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit of University / General Hospital Santa Maria della Misericordia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy, from January 2015 to June 2015 were included in a medical record review. Basic descriptive statistics and distributional properties of all variables were first examined. Bivariate analyses were performed using Chi-square tests for group comparisons and t-test for independent samples used when appropriated.

RESULTS: The study sample included 38 patients. Of these 23 had committed NSB (13.1%), 15 had commetted SG (8.5%). Number of married NSB was significantly higher than the number of married SG (p=0.08). We found a significant difference between NSB and SG related to the item of impulse control that was poorer in SG than NSB (p=0.010). BPRS items of hostility (p=0.082), suspiciousness (p=0.042) and excitement (p=0.02) were found to be significantly higher in SG than NSB. Borderline personality disorder (p=0.032) and Passive-Aggressive personality disorder (p=0,082) diagnosed by the means of the SCID-II, were more represented in SG than NSB (p=0.044). Schizoid personality disorder was significantly related to NSB (p=0.042). No others significant differences were found.

CONCLUSIONS: NSB and SG are different for many psychopathological characteristics. These results confirm the importance of classifying individuals on the basis of the intent to die. Additional research is needed to understand and elucidate psychopatological and clinical characteristics of the different categories of self-injurers to find risk factors specific to suicide attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S285-S291
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


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