Neuropsychological Characteristics of past Suicide Attempt among Patients with Schizophrenia

Antigone Phili, Fordham University


Schizophrenia is associated with an elevated risk for suicidal behavior and a broad range of neuropsychological impairments. The aim of this study was to examine the association between past suicidal behavior and neuropsychological functioning in a sample of patients with schizophrenia. Prior studies have indicated more intact neuropsychological functioning is associated with a higher risk for suicide in schizophrenia. 90 inpatients with schizophrenia were administered a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests including measures of intelligence, attention, memory, verbal fluency, and executive functioning. Various assessments of clinical symptom severity included the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Scales for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) and Negative Symptoms (SANS). 28 of these patients had previously made a suicide attempt; 62 had no prior history of attempt. Contrary to prior studies, the present study found no differences in neuropsychological test performance. The two groups differed in clinical symptom severity, with attempters presenting with fewer negative symptoms (SANS) and overall psychopathology (BPRS), as hypothesized. Attempters also had higher ratings of lifetime history of suicidal behavior. Contrary to what was hypothesized, there were no differences between groups in depression severity; this may be explained by the absence of significant differences in current suicidal behavior/ideation. As the attempters were not assessed immediately after an attempt, clinical risk factors and neuropsychological functioning associated with suicide risk may have been stabilized at the time of assessment.

Subject Area

Psychology|Clinical psychology|Physiological psychology

Recommended Citation

Phili, Antigone, "Neuropsychological Characteristics of past Suicide Attempt among Patients with Schizophrenia" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13879657.