Influence of Sex on Suicidal Phenotypes in Affective Disorder Patients with Traumatic Childhood Experiences

Alexandra Bernegger, Klemens Kienesberger, Laura Carlberg, Patrick Swoboda, Birgit Ludwig, Romina Koller, Nestor D Kapusta, Martin Aigner, Helmuth Haslacher, Michaela Schmöger, Siegfried Kasper, Alexandra Schosser

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

21 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: In the current study, we aimed to investigate the impact of childhood trauma on suicidal behaviour phenotypes in a group of patients with diagnosed affective disorder (unipolar or bipolar affective disorder).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with and without a history of childhood abuse, measured by Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), were assessed to explore risks for suicidal behaviour (including suicide attempt, self-harm and non-suicidal self-injury). The tested sample consisted of 258 patients (111 males and 147 females, in-patients and out-patients at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna and University Hospital Tulln, Lower Austria). Psychiatric diagnoses were derived from the SCAN (Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry) interview. In addition, patients were administered the Lifetime Parasuicidal Count (LPC), Suicidal Behaviour Questionnaire (SBQ-R), and Viennese Suicide Risk Assessment Scale (VISURIAS) questionnaires.

RESULTS: In contrast to male suicide attempters, female suicide attempters showed both significantly higher total CTQ scores (p<0.001), and higher CTQ subscores (emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as emotional and physical neglect) in comparison to the non-suicidal control group. Besides, females with a history of self-harming behaviour (including suicidal intention) and Non-Suicidal-Self Injury (NSSI) had significantly higher CTQ total scores (p<0.001) than the control group.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest gender differences in suicidal behaviour after being exposed to childhood trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0137763
Pages (from-to)e0137763
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse/psychology
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders/psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide/psychology
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Multidisciplinary
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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