Questionnaires and self-report scales were administered to 100 psychiatric inpatients. The scales measured such variables as depression, hopelessness, impulsivity, mental and life problems, family violence, personality characteristics, and dyscontrol tendencies. These were correlated with indices of suicide risk and violence risk. Most variables were found to correlate significantly with both suicide and violence risk. Partial correlation analyses revealed that 10 variables correlated significantly with suicide risk but not violence risk, while four variables correlated significantly with violence risk but not suicide risk. A two-stage model of countervailing forces, incorporating concepts from both psychoanalysis and ethology, is presented as a way of interpreting the results.