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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1997 Jun;185(6):373-81.

Recent life events and suicide in personality disorders.

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  • 1Tampere School of Public Health, University of Tampere, Finland.


This study investigates the relationships between personality disorders, recent life events, and comorbid axis I disorders in suicide. Life events during the last week and last 3 months before suicide of 56 suicide victims with a DSM-III-R axis II personality disorder (PD) were compared with those of 56 age- and sex-matched comparison suicides with evidence of no PD. These victims were from a random sample of suicides representing a total 1-year nationwide suicide population in Finland. Life events had been more common among PD victims, particularly job problems, family discord, financial trouble, unemployment, and interpersonal loss; most victims with PD had had multiple life events. Events possibly dependent on the victim's own behavior had been much more common among the PD group, especially in the final week (70% vs. 23%). Age, gender, comorbid axis I diagnosis of alcoholism or depression, or PD cluster type B or C seemed to be less important factors in terms of excess events in the PD group. Thus, PD should be assessed as an important factor when analyzing the relationship between recent life events and suicide. Our findings suggest that interpersonal and job-related/financial problems may precede suicide closely among individuals with PD.

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