Multidimensional assessments of impulsivity in subjects with history of suicidal attempts

Compr Psychiatry. Jul-Aug 2009;50(4):315-21. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2008.09.006. Epub 2008 Nov 21.


Objective: This study aimed to examine whether subjects with history of suicidal attempts had higher impulsivity as measured by neurocognitive tests and self-report questionnaires. The interrelationships among different impulsivity measures were also explored.

Methods: Fifty-four nonpsychotic psychiatric inpatients, including 24 subjects with previous history of suicidal attempts and 30 comparison subjects without previous suicidal attempts, completed the self-report Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11-Chinese version (BIS-11-CH) and 2 neuropsychologic tests of impulsivity: the immediate memory task/delayed memory task (IMT/DMT) and the single key impulsivity paradigm (SKIP).

Results: The results indicated that subjects with previous suicidal attempts exhibited higher BIS-11-CH factor 2 (lack of self-control/attentional impulsivity) subscore (P = .02) and more commission errors in IMT (P = .03). However, BIS-11-CH scores and performance indices of IMT/DMT and of SKIP did not correlate with each other.

Conclusions: Our findings supported that subjects with previous suicidal attempts had higher impulsivity, which could be revealed by both self-report and neurocognitive measures. However, there is no correlation among self-report, IMT/DMT, and SKIP measures, indicating that they might be measuring different dimensions of impulsivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis*
  • Impulsive Behavior / epidemiology
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Psychotropic Drugs