A review and conceptual model of the association of Type D personality with suicide risk

J. Denollet, H.R. Trompetter*, N Kupper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The role of personality as distal risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behavior is still unclear. This review aims to propose two conceptual models that explain the psychological plausibility of Type D personality as distal risk factor and contributor to the transition from general to suicide distress. To support this aim, we performed a systematic review of existing studies on the association between Type D personality and suicidal distress. A systematic search yielded eight studies that reported on Type D personality and suicidal distress. Type D personality was robustly associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, across populations and countries. Type D was related to the level/frequency of suicidal ideation in seven studies, and suicide attempt in two studies. Our first theoretical model identifies intra-psychic (depression, alcohol misuse, posttraumatic stress) and interpersonal (low belonging, social isolation, lack of support) vulnerabilities of individuals with Type D that may fuel the development of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Type D by itself will not account for why people become suicidal, but our second theoretical model suggests that the avoidant-passive tendencies of Type D individuals may result in persistent problem-solving deficits, and, eventually, feelings of entrapment that may contribute to the desire to escape from pain. We conclude that empirical evidence supports the hypothesized link between Type D personality, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Our conceptual models – albeit often supported by indirect evidence - further substantiate the plausibility of this link, and offer concrete guidance for future studies. Primarily, more longitudinal research is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-300
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume138
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COMPASSION-FOCUSED THERAPY
  • DEPRESSION
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • Entrapment
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • MODERATING ROLE
  • NEGATIVE AFFECTIVITY
  • POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER
  • PROFILES
  • PTSD SYMPTOMS
  • Personality
  • SOCIAL INHIBITION
  • Social inhibition
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide risk
  • Type D

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