Impulsivity has been conceptualized as influencing the expression of suicidal behavior. Adolescence is a developmental period characterized both by a relatively high rate of suicide attempts and a high level of impulsivity. The current study examined two behavioral measures (delay reward and disinhibition) and one self-report measure of impulsivity among girls with suicide attempt histories. Girls with multiple suicide attempts performed more impulsively on measures of delayed reward, and had higher self-ratings of depression and aggression than girls with either one or no suicide attempts. The multiple attempter girls' preference for immediate gratification may directly increase vulnerability to suicidal acts in the context of distressing states or indirectly increase risk by creating poor life experience over time.
© 2011 The American Association of Suicidology.