Self-reported motor impulsivity may be a significant predictor of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder and major depression, according to results published in Comprehensive Psychiatry.

These results indicate that impulsivity should be a target of interventions and public policy regarding suicide prevention.

The study included 2 groups of patients with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (n=52) and control patients matched by age and education (n=80). Of the patients with mood disorders, 26 had at least 1 previous suicide attempt (n=8 with major depressive disorder, n=9 with bipolar I, n=9 with bipolar II) and 26 had not previously attempted suicide (n=7 with major depressive disorder, n=10 with bipolar I, n=9 with bipolar II). Each participant completed behavioral and self-report measures of decision making and inhibitory control.

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After analyzing the results, the researchers did not find a difference in cognitive performance between the groups.

The participants with mood disorders and a history of suicide attempt showed significantly higher motor and attentional impulsivity than the participants with mood disorders without a history of suicide attempt and control patients. After regression analysis, only motor impulsivity was a significant predictor of a history of suicide attempt (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.001 – 1.300).

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“These findings underscore the importance of self-report measures in neuropsychological assessment, and their contributions to the management and prognosis of patients with mood disorders,” the researchers wrote.


Ponsoni A, Branco LD, Cotrena C, et al. Self-reported inhibition predicts history of suicide attempts in bipolar disorder and major depression. Compr Psychiatry. 2018;82(4):89-94.