Towards the objective assessment of suicidal states: Some neurocognitive deficits may be temporally related to suicide attempt

Alejandro Interian, Catherine E. Myers, Megan S. Chesin, Anna Kline, Lauren St Hill, Arlene R. King, Rachael Miller, Miriam Latorre, Michael A. Gara, Barbara H. Stanley, John G. Keilp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Neurocognitive detection of suicidal states has the potential to significantly advance objective risk assessment. This goal requires establishing that neurocognitive deficits fluctuate around the time of a suicide attempt. The current study therefore evaluated whether neurocognitive performance is temporally related to suicide attempt, in a sample at highrisk for suicide (n = 141). Evaluations consisted of a clinician-administered interview, self-report questionnaires, and neurocognitive tasks assessing response inhibition, attentional control, and memory recognition. Analyses examined whether neurocognitive scores significantly differed according to the following temporal suicide attempt categories: (a) past-week attempt; (b) past-year attempt (not in past week); and (c) no past-year attempt. Univariate results showed that response inhibition and memory recognition were significantly related to suicide attempt recency. Post-hoc pairwise tests showed that participants with a past-week suicide attempt showed greater impairments than those without a past-year attempt. Multivariate tests showed the same pattern of results, adjusting for age, suicide attempts prior to past year, mood disturbance, and suicidal ideation. These results show that neurocognitive assessment of response inhibition and memory recognition shows sensitivity to the recency of a suicide attempt. While future prospective studies are needed, results suggest that phasic neurocognitive deficits may serve as objective markers of short-term suicide risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112624
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards the objective assessment of suicidal states: Some neurocognitive deficits may be temporally related to suicide attempt'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this