Personality disorder symptoms and suicidality: Low desire and high plans for suicide in military inpatients and outpatients


This study characterizes the personality disorder (PD) symptoms of patients who endorse a perplexing combination of low desire and high plans for suicide. Five PD (antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, dependent, avoidant) symptoms were examined at the junction of two suicide risk factors: (a) suicidal desire/ideation and (b) resolved plans/preparations. Participants (N = 250) were recruited from U.S. Army Medical Center affiliated sites, including two outpatient clinics, an inpatient facility, and an emergency room. Self-report measures of PD and suicide symptoms were administered. The interaction of desire and plans was entered into multiple regression equations predicting PD symptoms. Patients endorsing low desire and high plans for suicide reported significantly more antisocial and narcissistic symptoms and fewer borderline, avoidant, and dependent PD symptoms. These findings support the existence of patients who endorse suicide plans in the absence of strong suicidal desire and suggest that they display antisocial and narcissistic personality characteristics. Future directions and clinical implications are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Personality Disorders