Suicide attempts and impulsivity

Enrique Baca-Garcia, Carmen Diaz-Sastre, Eloy García Resa, Hilario Blasco, Dolores Braquehais Conesa, Maria A. Oquendo, Jeronimo Saiz-Ruiz, Jose De Leon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Impulsivity in suicidal behavior can describe the attempt (state) or the attempter (trait). There are no studies simultaneously measuring attempt impulsivity and attempter impulsivity in representative samples of suicide attempts. A one-year study of 278 suicide attempts in a general hospital tested the continuous versus dichotomous relationship between attempter impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and attempt impulsivity (low scores in the planning subscale of Beck's Suicidal Intent Scale). Attempter impulsivity was not a good predictor of attempt impulsivity independently of how both dimensions were measured (continuous or dichotomous ways). Impulsive attempts were associated with low lethality and lack of depression. Opportunities for prevention of suicide attempts in major depression and some personality traits may exist but require attentive monitoring of suicidal ideation and intent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-156
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
■ Acknowledgments The sample was recruited at the Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, Spain. The study was supported by a 1999 and 2001 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Awards and a grant from the Spanish Government (Fondo de Investigacion Sanitaria, FIS 01/0077-01). A description of the preliminary analysis was presented as a poster at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, New Orleans, LA, May 3–5, 2001. A reviewer challenged us by questioning our definition of attempt impulsivity; this led us to use a new definition and to make profound changes in the article.


  • Impulsivity
  • Major depression
  • Personality disorder
  • Suicide
  • Suicide attempts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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