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J Abnorm Psychol. 2001 Aug;110(3):462-70.

Psychopathy, antisocial personality, and suicide risk.

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Department of Psychology, Florida State University, USA.


H. Cleckley (1976) maintained that psychopaths are relatively immune to suicide, but substantial evidence exists for a relationship between antisocial deviance and suicidal acts. This study was the first to explicitly examine suicidal history among psychopathic individuals as defined by R. D. Hare's (1991) Psychopathy Checklist--Revised (PCL-R). Male prison inmates (N = 313) were assessed using the PCL-R and DSM-III-R and DSM-IV criteria (American Psychiatric Association, 1987, 1994) for antisocial personality disorder (APD), and they completed A. Tellegen's (1982) Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Presence or absence of prior suicide attempts was coded from structured interview and prison file records. Suicide history was significantly related to PCL-R Factor 2 (which reflects chronic antisocial deviance) and to APD diagnosis but was unrelated to PCL-R Factor 1, which encompasses affective and interpersonal features of psychopathy. Higher order MPQ dimensions of Negative Emotionality and low Constraint were found to account for the relationship between history of suicidal attempts and antisocial deviance, indicating that temperament traits may represent a common vulnerability for both.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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