Year: 2019 Source: Psychiatry Investigation. (2016). 13(4), 389-96. doi: 10.4306/pi.2016.13.4.389 SIEC No: 20190255

A considerable proportion of suicide attempts are the result of sudden desires. Understanding such impulsive suicide attempts is necessary for effective interventions. We evaluated the impulsivity of suicide attempters treated in emergency rooms. The aim of the study was to identify the characteristics of impulsive suicide attempts by comparing these individuals to those who attempted to commit suicide in a non-impulsive manner.

This study analyzed suicide attempters who visited the emergency departments of seven selected university hospitals. A total of 269 medical records in which impulsivity of suicide attempt were confirmed were subject to be analyzed. The impulsivity of the suicide attempt was examined using a summative score of items 6 and 15 on the Suicide Intent Scale.

A total of 48.0% of the participants were impelled by sudden inclinations to attempt suicide. Impulsive attempters were younger, unmarried and less physical illness than non-impulsive attempters, whereas no significant differences were found on psychiatric history and previous suicide history. Impulsive suicide attempters had suicide ideations that were not as severe (χ(2)=55.33, p<0.001) or intense (t=-8.38, p<0.001) as their counterparts’. Furthermore, medical results of impulsive suicide attempts were better than non-impulsive suicide attempts (t=-3.77, p<0.001).

The results suggested that a considerable proportion of suicide attempts were the result of sudden inclinations. Impulsive attempts were made in relatively earlier stages of suicide ideation; consequently, they have less intent than non-impulsive attempts.