Background Suicidal behavior is one of the most alarming signs not only in psychiatry, and current major depressive episode is the most frequent medical condition among suicide victims and attempters. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between the individual pattern of affective temperaments, non-typical symptoms of depression as measured with the Gotland Scale for Male Depression (GSMD), hopelessness and suicidal behavior in major mood disorder patients. Methods Participants were 346 adult inpatients (151 men and 195 women) with major mood disorders consecutively admitted to the Department of Psychiatry of the Sant’Andrea University Hospital in Rome, Italy. All the patients were administered the TEMPS-A, the GSMD, and the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Results A Two Step Cluster Analysis procedure, performed to reveal natural groupings within patients’ response set, indicated that there were 2-groups: a cyclothymicÐdepressiveÐanxious group and a hyperthymic group. More than 81% of the patients with prevailing cyclothymicÐdepressiveÐanxious temperament had mild to severe suicidal risk on the MINI vs. only around 42% of the patients with prevailing hyperthymic temperament. Sixty-four percent of patients with prevailing cyclothymicÐdepressiveÐanxious temperament had BHS scores of 9 or higher versus only 13% of patients with prevailing hyperthymic temperament. Also, patients with prevailing cyclothymicÐdepressiveÐanxious temperament more likely had higher GSMD than patients with prevailing hyperthymic temperament. Limitations The correlational nature of the study limits causal conclusions to be drawn. Conclusions Our results indicate that affective temperament measure along with Gotland Scale for Male Depression could be useful tools in screening and identifying those affective disorder patients who are at higher risk of suicidal behavior.
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