Suicidal Risk and Affective Temperaments, Evaluated with the TEMPS-A Scale: A Systematic Review

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Among risk factors for suicidal behavior, there is growing interest in associations with stable affective temperament types, particularly based on assessment with the TEMPS-A self-rating scale.


As research on this topic has not been reviewed systematically, we synthesized relevant, reported research findings.


Systematic searching identified peer-reviewed reports pertaining to associations of suicidal behavior or ideation with affective temperament types evaluated with TEMPS-A. We summarized available findings and applied quantitative meta-analytic methods to compare scale scores in suicidal versus nonsuicidal subjects.


In 21 of 23 TEMPS-A studies meeting inclusion criteria, anxious, cyclothymic, depressive, or irritable temperament scores were significantly higher with previous or recent suicide attempts or ideation in both psychiatric and general population samples compared to nonsuicidal controls, whereas hyperthymic temperament scores were lower in 9 of 11 reports. These findings were synthesized by random-effects meta-analyses of standardized mean differences in TEMPS-A temperament scores in suicidal versus nonsuicidal subjects. Associations ranked: depressive ≥ irritable > cyclothymic > anxious > hyperthymic (negative).


Affective temperaments, especially depressive and irritable, were strongly associated with suicidal risk, whereas hyperthymic temperament appeared to be protective.

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