Understanding the Influence of Personality Traits on Risk of Suicidal Behaviour in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

J Clin Med. 2021 Oct 8;10(19):4604. doi: 10.3390/jcm10194604.


Risk of suicidal behaviour (SB) in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) is a major concern, particularly in early stages of the illness, when suicide accounts for a high number of premature deaths. Although some risk factors for SB in SSD are well understood, the extent to which personality traits may affect this risk remains unclear, which may have implications for prevention. We conducted a systematic review of previous studies indexed in MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Embase examining the relationship between personality traits and SB in samples of patients with SSD. Seven studies fulfilled predetermined selection criteria. Harm avoidance, passive-dependent, schizoid and schizotypal personality traits increased the risk of SB, while self-directedness, cooperativeness, excluding persistence and self-transcendence acted as protective factors. Although only seven studies were retrieved from three major databases after applying predetermined selection criteria, we found some evidence to support that personality issues may contribute to SB in patients with SSD. Personality traits may therefore become part of routine suicide risk assessment and interventions targeting these personality-related factors may contribute to prevention of SB in SSD.

Keywords: personality traits; schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD); suicidal behaviour (SB).

Publication types

  • Review