Personality traits as correlates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide completions: a systematic review

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Mar;113(3):180-206. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00702.x.


Objective: Involvement of personality traits in susceptibility to suicidality has been the subject of research since the 1950s. Because of the diversity of conceptual and methodological approaches, the extent of their independent contribution has been difficult to establish. Here, we review conceptual background and empirical evidence investigating roles of traits in suicidal behaviors.

Method: We selected original studies published in English in MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases, focusing on suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, or suicide completions, and using standardized personality measures.

Results: Most studies focused on investigating risk for suicide attempts. Hopelessness, neuroticism, and extroversion hold the most promise in relation to risk screening across all three suicidal behaviors. More research is needed regarding aggression, impulsivity, anger, irritability, hostility, and anxiety.

Conclusion: Selected personality traits may be useful markers of suicide risk. Future research needs to establish their contributions in relation to environmental and genetic variation in different gender, age, and ethnocultural groups.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*