Temperaments mediate suicide risk and psychopathology among patients with bipolar disorders

Maurizio Pompili, Zoltan Rihmer, Hagop Akiskal, Mario Amore, Xenia Gonda, Marco Innamorati, David Lester, Giulio Perugi, Gianluca Serafini, Ludovica Telesforo, Roberto Tatarelli, Paolo Girardi

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Background: Several studies have demonstrated that bipolar II (BD-II) disorder represents a quite common, distinct form of major mood disorders that should be separated from bipolar I (BD-I) disorder. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to assess temperament and clinical differences between patients with BD-I and BD-II disorders and to assess whether temperament traits are good predictors of hopelessness in patients with bipolar disorder, a variable highly associated with suicidal behavior and ideation. Method: Participants were 216 consecutive inpatients (97 men and 119 women) with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), BD who were admitted to the Sant'Andrea Hospital's psychiatric ward in Rome (Italy). Patients completed the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris, and San Diego-Autoquestionnaire, the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), and the Gotland Scale of Male Depression. Results: Patients with BD-II had higher scores on the BHS (9.78 ± 5.37 vs 6.87 ± 4.69; t 143.59 = -3.94; P <.001) than patients with BD-I. Hopelessness was associated with the individual pattern of temperament traits (ie, the relative balance of hyperthymic vs cyclothymic-irritable-anxious-dysthmic). Furthermore, patients with higher hopelessness (compared with those with lower levels of hopelessness) reported more frequently moderate to severe depression (87.1% vs 38.9%; P <.001) and higher MINI suicidal risk. Conclusion: Temperaments are important predictors both of suicide risk and psychopathology and may be used in clinical practice for better delivery of appropriate care to patients with bipolar disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-285
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Pompili, M., Rihmer, Z., Akiskal, H., Amore, M., Gonda, X., Innamorati, M., Lester, D., Perugi, G., Serafini, G., Telesforo, L., Tatarelli, R., & Girardi, P. (2012). Temperaments mediate suicide risk and psychopathology among patients with bipolar disorders. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 53(3), 280-285. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2011.04.004