OBJECTIVE The target of this paper was to quantify the amount of cognitive constriction in German-language suicide notes by studying quantitative psycholinguistic parameters of texts. This should give a better understanding of presuicidal events and encourage improvement in the field of suicide prevention and crisis intervention. METHODS The study is based on letters of the "Vienna Corpus of Suicide Notes". To prove various hypotheses a factor analysis, a number of regression analyses, and the General Linear Model were applied, apart from descriptive methods. RESULTS The 16 parameters could be reduced to five factors of cognitive constriction, such as the writing style, the usage of words, the dichotomy, the length and the grammatical correctness of the suicide notes. Regarding the writing style the highest values of cognitive constriction were found among women (p=0.005), young persons (p< or =0.000), in short letters (p=0.027) and if psychological problems were the motive for suicide (p=0.020). The discovery site of the letters (p=0.002) was important as well. CONCLUSIONS The construct of cognitive constriction is a multidimensional and complex phenomenon. Therefore the quantification must contain variables of the persons and the texts.