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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;15(9):734-41.

Narcissistic personality and vulnerability to late-life suicidality.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Marnin.Heisel@ihsc.on.ca



Narcissistic personality (NP) has been implicated as a potential vulnerability factor for late-life suicide. The present study investigated whether NP increases vulnerability to suicidal ideation and behavior among geriatric depression day-hospital patients.


Using a retrospective database analysis, the authors examined demographic data, diagnostic information, and scores on self-report (Geriatric Depression Scale [GDS]) and clinician-rated depression measures (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression [HAM-D]), for 608 geriatric psychiatry patients 65 years or older.


Of the 538 patients meeting study inclusion criteria, 20 had NP, defined as either narcissistic personality disorder (n = 13) or narcissistic personality traits (n = 7). Patients with NP were rated significantly higher on the HAM-D suicide item than those without NP, controlling for age, sex, depression (GDS), and cognitive functioning.


Findings suggest that NP may be a clinical marker of elevated suicide risk among depressed older adults. Clinicians are advised to assess the presence of self-pathology and its potential impact upon psychological functioning in depressed older patients, and to incorporate discussions of life transitions into therapeutic work with those at-risk for suicide.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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