Dimensions of impulsivity and aggression associated with suicide attempts among bipolar patients: a preliminary study

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2004 Summer;34(2):172-6. doi: 10.1521/suli.


Impulsivity and hostility are often thought to be interrelated among depressed patients with suicidal behavior, but few studies have examined this relationship empirically. In this study, we assessed trait impulsivity and hostility among 52 DSM-IV bipolar subjects with and without histories of suicide attempts. Impulsivity and hostility were correlated among attempters (r = .41, p = .03) but not non-attempters (r = .22, p = .28). As compared to non-attempters, attempters had significantly higher levels of overall hostility, more extensive subcomponents of hostility, and a trend toward higher overall impulsivity. Associations between lifetime suicide attempts and overall hostility were significant while controlling for current depression severity and lifetime illness duration. Aggression and impulsivity appear linked among bipolar patients with lifetime suicide attempts but may be independent constructs among non-attempters. The presence of both factors may elevate risk for suicidal behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*