Recurrent suicide attempts in patients with depressive and anxiety disorders: The role of borderline personality traits

B. Stringer, B. van Meijel, M. Eikelenboom, B. Koekkoek, C.M.M. Licht, A.J.F.M. Kerkhof, B.W.J.H. Penninx, A.T.F. Beekman

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Background: The presence of a comorbid borderline personality disorder (BPD) may be associated with an increase of suicidal behaviors in patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. The aim of this study is to examine the role of borderline personality traits on recurrent suicide attempts. Methods: The Netherlands Study on Depression and Anxiety included 1838 respondents with lifetime depressive and!or anxiety disorders, of whom 309 reported at least one previous suicide attempt. A univariable negative binomial regression analysis was performed to examine the association between comorbid borderline personality traits and suicide attempts. Univariable and multivariable negative binomial regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for the number of recurrent suicide attempts in four clusters (type and severity of axis-I disorders, BPD traits, determinants of suicide attempts and socio-demographics). Results: In the total sample the suicide attempt rate ratio increased with 33% for every unit increase in BPD traits. A lifetime diagnosis of dysthymia and comorbid BPD traits, especially the symptoms anger and fights, were independently and significantly associated with recurrent suicide attempts in the final model (n=309). Limitations: The screening of personality disorders was added to the NESDA assessments at the 4-year follow-up for the first time. Therefore we were not able to examine the influence of comorbid BPD traits on suicide attempts over time. Conclusions: Persons with a lifetime diagnosis of dysthymia combined with borderline personality traits especially difficulties in coping with anger seemed to be at high risk for recurrent suicide attempts. For clinical practice, it is recommended to screen for comorbid borderline personality traits and to strengthen the patient's coping skills with regard to anger. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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