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Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Suicidal Behavior: Evidence for a Positive Association in a Sample of Depressed Patients

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(11):1551-1556
10.4088/JCP.08m04636

Objective: To explore the association between obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and suicidal behavior.

Method: Subjects referred for a psychiatric consultation were evaluated with structured interviews for mood and personality disorders (the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Axis II Disorders), a history of suicidal behavior, and levels of coping. A total of 311 subjects were investigated using a 3-group design to test the association between OCPD and suicidal behavior, controlling for the presence of depression. Subjects with OCPD and a history of depression were compared to depressed subjects without any Axis II diagnosis and to subjects without depression or personality disorders. The study was conducted at Verdun Community Psychiatric Clinic, Douglas Hospital, McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and subjects were recruited from 2003 until 2005.

Results: Subjects in the comorbid OCPD-depression group presented increased current and lifetime suicide ideation compared to the groups with depression alone or without depression or personality disorders (P = .004); they also had increased history of suicide attempts (P = .04), which were often multiple attempts (P = .01). They also scored lower on the Reasons for Living Inventory (RFL) and the Death Anxiety Questionnaire. Interestingly, comorbid OCPD-depression patients differed from patients with depression alone on the Moral Objections items of the RFL, on which individuals with OCPD-depression scored lowest. Limitations of this study were its cross-sectional design, retrospective sample, and limited generalizability to the population at large.

Conclusions: Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a factor increasing risk for nonfatal suicidal behavior independently of risk conferred by depressive disorders.


Submitted: August 25, 2008; accepted October 9, 2008.

Online ahead of print: July 14, 2009.

Corresponding author: Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, 6875 LaSalle Blvd, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Hospital Research Center, Montreal, H4H 1R3, Quebec, Canada (gustavo.turecki@mcgill.ca).