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Suicide and Personality

Mehmet Ak, Murat Gülsün, K. Nahit Özmenler.

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Many factors may play role in the emergence of suicidal behavior. Familial tendency including some features of personality structure, hopelessness, affective disorder, and suicide behavior have attracted close attention recently. Personality disorders seem to be prevalent in individuals who attempt suicide. Beside it has been reported that personality disorders and other psychiatric disorder comorbidity increase the risk of suicide. To present the relationship between suicide and personality is quite important for developing strategies in order to prevent suicide attempt. In this field, the data show variability based on scales used for the evaluation of personality, its definition and classification in the research. For example, while some authors used DSM criteria or ICD criteria, others preferred to focus on the temperament and character dimensions of personality. In studies based on diagnostic criteria; B group personality disorders, such as antisocial and borderline personality disorders were found to be most common comorbid personality disorder diagnosis. In studies aiming to investigate the relationship among suicide attempt, temperament and character features, the suicide attempters were found to have lower levels of self directedness, cooperativeness, and higher scores for self transcendence. Suicidal patients were inclined to have higher scores in several temperament groups like harm avoidance, novelty seeking, and reward dependence. Tendency to impulsive behavior is reported as a common denominator for suicidal patients. Individuals, who have familial or acquired tendency of impulsivity, could react more dramatically and present with depressive and pessimistic mood when they have difficulties and encounter stress factors in their daily routine and could easily develop depressive disorders. These factors as a whole could lead to self destructive actions like suicide. Individual or familial history of suicide attempts or completed suicide are important clues as to presence of suicidality. Several studies have been conducted on the relationship between suicide attempts and personality features. However, there is not sufficient number of studies conducted on the completed suicide victims. The only methodology that could be used among this group of patients is psychological autopsy which is quite hard to implement because of inherent methodological problems. These factors prevent accumulation of sufficient data on the relationships between completed suicide and personality. However, we should evaluate suicidal behavior comprehensively in order to treat and to prevent its occurrence. Personality features are important in choosing the method of treatment, for social arrangements, and predicting possible new attempts. Our knowledge, about relationship between personality and suicide, will reach a better level by accelerating studies on completed suicide, and investigating suicide, personality, temperament, character relationship mo

Key words: suicide, personality, temperament, character

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