ISSN 1225-8709 (Print)
ISSN 2005-7571 (Online)
Volume 25, Number 4 (4/2018)
Original Article <page. 118-24 >

Association between Impulsivity and Medical Lethality of Suicide Attempts among Suicide Attempters

Ji Won Park, MD1;Kyung Hoon Suh, MD1;Kyung Hoon Son, MD1;Jae Hyun Han, MD1;Yeong Ju Jeon, MA1;Yu Jin Jung, BA1;Won Joon Lee, MD1;Su Jeong Seong, MD1;Chang Hwan Han, MD1;Gyu Chong Cho, MD2; and Jae Yeon Hwang, MD1;

1;Departments of Psychiatry, 2;Emergency Medicine, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine,Seoul, Korea

Objectives : Although impulsivity has long been thought as an important factor influencing suicidal behaviors, it is unknown whether impulsivity increases the risk of dying from suicidal behaviors and what specific component among constructs of impulsivity contributes to the risk of dying among suicide attempters.

Methods : To elucidate the association between impulsivity and medical lethality of suicide attempt among suicide attempters, we consecutively recruited 46 suicide attempters who visited an emergency room of a general hospital located in a metropolitan area, Seoul, Republic of Korea, due to suicide attempts and consented to participate in this study. Then we assessed medical lethality with the Beck Lethality Scale (LS) and impulsivity with the Korean version of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11-Revised (BIS). Demographic variables were obtained from medical records and structured social work reports for suicide attempters.

Results : Although total scores of the BIS did not correlate with LS scores, only the scores of self-control, that is one of the Barrett's six theoretical constructs of impulsivity in which the higher score indicates less self-control and more impulsivity, had a significant positive correlation with scores of LS (p = 0.003). The association remained significant after adjusting for variables known to affect suicide lethality such as job status, recent alcohol consumption, diagnosis of depressive disorders, and having a plan for suicide (β = 0.429, p = 0.009).

Conclusions : Not impulsivity in general, but poor self-control, in particular, predicts lethal suicidal behaviors among suicide attempters. The degree of self-control should be evaluated when assessing patients with elevated suicide risk, and proper measures should be installed to prevent possible future lethal suicide attempts.

Key words : Suicide, attempted;Self-control;Impulsivity;Trauma severity indices.


This Article