Suicide and Personality Traits: A Multicenter Study of Austrian and Italian Psychiatric Patients and Students

Stefan Stefa-Missagli, Human-Friedrich Unterrainer, Giancarlo Giupponi, Sandra-Johanna Holasek, Hans-Peter Kapfhammer, Andreas Conca, Michela Sarlo, Denise Erbuto, Elena Rogante, Heidrun Moujaes-Droescher, Katrin Davok, Isabella Berardelli, Karolina Krysinska, Karl Andriessen, David Lester, Maurizio Pompili

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of this multicenter study was to investigate the differences in personality traits, particularly Neuroticism, in three clinical samples and three student samples in Austria and Italy and their impact on suicide. Methods: In total, 1,043 people (410 psychiatric inpatients and 633 university students) were tested in three regions of Europe: central Italy, northeast Italy, and eastern Austria. Psychiatric diagnoses were evaluated using the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and the following instruments were used: Sociodemographic Questionnaire, Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale-B, Symptom-Checklist-90-Standard, and Big Five Inventory. Results: The study found that the intensity of Suicidal Ideation was associated with the personality traits of Neuroticism, Anxiety, and Extraversion but also with Depression. Conclusions: In conclusion, without the presence of Depression symptoms, neuroticism was a protective factor against Suicidal Ideation, whereas neuroticism when comorbid with Depression symptoms increased suicide risk in psychiatric patients. In all three regions, the clinical samples had higher scores for Neuroticism and for Depression symptoms than the student sample and consequently higher scores for Suicide. Furthermore, we demonstrated an interaction between gender and culture on personality traits, supporting the hypothesis that the distribution of self-reported personality traits is organized geographically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-232
Number of pages13
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

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