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Can J Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;54(2):87-92.

An examination of DSM-IV borderline personality disorder symptoms and risk for death by suicide: a psychological autopsy study.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.



To clarify whether certain Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms are more prevalent among people who die by suicide, and thereby better predict suicide risk.


A psychological autopsy method with best informants was used to investigate DSM-IV BPD symptoms and suicide risk among people who died by suicide and met criteria for BPD (n = 62), and BPD control subjects (n = 35).


BPD symptoms in people who died by suicide were less likely to include affective instability and paranoid ideation-dissociative symptoms. The negative association between paranoid ideation-dissociative symptoms and suicide was independent of all other BPD symptoms, Cluster B comorbidity, and alcohol dependence.


We found that discrete DSM-IV BPD symptoms differentiate people with BPD who die by suicide and those who do not. People with BPD who go on to die by suicide appear to constitute a specific subgroup of those who meet criteria for BPD, characterized by different general clinical presentation, but also by different characteristics within BPD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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