Temperament in suicidal behaviour

Research output: Chapter


Suicide shows a very strong association with affective illnesses, yet not all mood disorder patients commit suicide; therefore analysing affective pathology for those characteristics which differentiate suicidal and non-suicidal patients would be a key step in understanding the pathology of suicidal behaviour. One such phenomenon associated with affective illnesses and suicidal behaviour as well is affective temperaments. While the different affective temperamental types (depressive, anxious, irritable, cyclothymic, and hyperthymic) have all been shown to have some pattern of association with suicidal behaviour, results most consistently point to a key role for cyclothymic temperament for increasing the risk of suicide and suicide attempts via multiple mechanisms and not only in case of mood disorders but also in other psychiatric illnesses and in healthy samples. Hyperthymic temperament, on the other hand, seems to have a protective effect. Although the biological substrate of the association between affective temperaments and suicidality is not well understood, one possible factor may be the presence of the 5-HTTLPR s allele, which is associated with affective temperaments carrying a depressive component and also violent suicidal behaviour. Understanding the role of affective temperaments in the development of suicidal behaviour may bring us closer not only to understanding the etiopathology of suicide and may provide us with important new research models but may also mean new targets for screening and intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Suicide: From Diagnosis to Personalized Treatment
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783319262826
ISBN (Print)9783319262802
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychology(all)

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    Ríhmer, Z., & Gonda, X. (2016). Temperament in suicidal behaviour. In Understanding Suicide: From Diagnosis to Personalized Treatment (pp. 43-51). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-26282-6_4