Psychological vulnerability to completed suicide: A review of empirical studies

Kenneth R. Conner, Paul R. Duberstein, Yeates Conwell, Larry Seidlitz, Eric D. Caine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Retrospective research shows that close to 90 percent of suicides have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder; however, only a small proportion of individuals with psychopathology take their own lives. This article reviews the empirical literature on psychological vulnerability to completed suicide. A search of the MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases yielded 46 cohort or case-control studies that used standardized or structured assessments of psychological dimensions. Five constructs have been consistently associated with completed suicide: impulsivity/aggression, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and self-consciousness/social disengagement. Current knowledge of psychological vulnerability to completed suicide could inform social and neurobiological research, and thereby deepen understanding of suicide while potentially bridging these areas of study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-385
Number of pages19
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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