Psychopathy and Suicide: A Multisample Investigation Academic Article uri icon


  • Evidence suggests that behavioral aspects of psychopathy are associated with suicidal behavior, whereas the affective and interpersonal aspects are not. The authors tested the robustness of this bifurcated association across 1,711 persons and 12 samples of adult and juvenile criminal offenders, forensic psychiatric patients, and civil psychiatric patients. The authors observed a small but significant partial correlation (.13) between the behavioral/impulsive lifestyle features of psychopathy and suicidality, but no effect for affective/interpersonal features. Several method and sample features (mental disorder; psychopathy and suicidality measurement format) significantly strengthened or weakened this association. The authors conclude that it is not possible to speak of "the" association between psychopathy and suicide, but that this relationship appears to be partially dependent on methodological (i.e., self-report vs. clinician-administered psychopathy measures) and sample composition (i.e., age; mental illness) factors. Recommendations for practice are provided, including that clinicians should not consider psychopathy a buffer against suicidal behavior. 2006 American Psychological Association.

published proceedings

  • Psychological Services

author list (cited authors)

  • Douglas, K. S., Herbozo, S., Poythress, N. G., Belfrage, H., & Edens, J. F.

citation count

  • 52

complete list of authors

  • Douglas, Kevin S||Herbozo, Sylvia||Poythress, Norman G||Belfrage, Henrik||Edens, John F

publication date

  • January 2006