Psychopathic personality traits as a form of dispositional capability for suicide

Joye C. Anestis, Michael D. Anestis, Olivia C. Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The capability to enact lethal self-harm has recently been highlighted as a critical risk factor for suicidal behavior. Klonsky and May's (2015) three step theory of suicide (3ST) expanded upon the construct of the capability for suicide by dividing it into categories: dispositional, acquired, and practical. The current study examined constructs of Patrick and colleagues’ (2009) triarchic model of psychopathy as indicators of dispositional capability in gun owners, a sample at heightened risk for death by suicide (Anestis and Houtsma, 2017). We anticipated that specific psychopathic traits would exhibit robust associations with other components of the capability for suicide. In a sample of 300 gun-owning adults, Boldness was uniquely related to all indicators of practical capability in both male and female gun owners, and a Boldness*Meanness interaction predicted the highest levels of some capability components. These results are consistent with theoretical conceptualizations of the triarchic model. Our findings indicate that, among US gun owners, dispositional factors may impact comfort with and aptitude with guns, which may enhance our understanding of which gun owners are at the greatest risk of gun suicide should they develop suicidal thoughts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Capability
  • Firearms
  • Psychopathy
  • Suicide
  • Triarchic model


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