Aggression, impulsivity, and suicide behavior: a review of the literature

Arch Suicide Res. 2011;15(2):93-112. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2011.565265.


This article reviews the literature on the association between impulsivity aggression and suicide. The key words impulsivity, aggression, and suicide were entered into the pubmed, psychlit, and proqest databases. Significant articles were scrutinized for relevant information. Impulsivity and aggression are highly correlated with suicidal behavior across psychiatric samples, nosological borders, and non-psychiatric populations. Impulsivity and aggression are related but the nature of this relationship remains unclear. The literature is confusing and contradictory. This is probably due to the difficulty in defining and separating out these concepts and the fact that there is much overlap between them. Future research should aim at clarifying and refining these concepts as well as their link to all the different forms of suicidal behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Psychopathology
  • Suicide / psychology*