Neurocognition and Suicide Risk in Adults
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Purpose of Review
Neurocognitive deficits (impaired mental abilities corresponding to brain dysfunction) are transdiagnostic features of psychiatric illness, which account for the vast majority of suicide deaths. Here, we provide a selective empirical overview of neurocognitive factors and associated pathophysiology implicated in adult suicide. The present report draws primarily from the neuropsychology literature to complement and update prior reviews and meta-analyses.
Suicidality is linked to impairment across neurocognitive domains, particularly inhibition and decision-making components of executive functioning (EF).
Extant research has primarily examined “cool” EF in suicide, yet there is strong preliminary evidence for the importance of “hot” EF involved in affect regulation and value-based decision-making. Our review accordingly integrates what is known about neurocognition and suicidality under a conceptual framework informed by this literature and prior theory. We specifically propose that hot EF deficits represent a common pathway to suicide from various distal risk factors.
KeywordsSuicidality Suicidal ideation Neuropsychology Executive functioning Cognitive control Emotion
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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