Navigation Links
Measuring the suicidal mind
Date:4/12/2010

Following the suicide of a relative or close friend, surviving family members and friends are left with a number of painful questions: "What made them do it?," "Why didn't they get help?" The most troublesome question is often, "Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?" People who are contemplating suicide tend to conceal their behavior, or deny they are having suicidal thoughts, so it can be difficult to identify warning signs. Even experienced clinicians sometimes do not catch any warning signs and suicide experts have been searching for a clear behavioral marker of suicide risk.

Psychological scientist Matthew Nock of Harvard University, along with colleagues from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, adapted the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure associations between life and death/ suicide and examined if it could be effective in predicting suicide risk. The IAT is a widely used test that measures automatic associations people hold about various topics participants are shown pairs of words and how quickly they respond indicates if they unconsciously associate those words together. In the IAT version used in this study, participants classified words related to "life" (e.g., breathing) and "death" (e.g., dead) and "me" (e.g., mine) and "not me" (e.g., them). Faster responses to "death"/"me" stimuli than "life"/"me" stimuli would suggest a stronger association between death and self.

People seeking treatment at a psychiatric emergency room participated in this study. They completed the IAT and various mental health assessments. In addition, their medical records were examined six months later to see if they had attempted suicide within that time.

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, revealed that participants presenting to the emergency room after a suicide attempt had a stronger implicit association between death/ suicide and self than did participants presenting with other psychiatric emergencies. In addition, participants with strong associations between death/ suicide and self were significantly more likely to make a suicide attempt within the next six months than were those who had stronger associations between life and self. These results suggest that an implicit association between death/ suicide and self may be a behavioral marker for suicide attempt. These findings also indicate that measures of implicit cognition may be useful for identifying and predicting clinical behaviors that tend not be reported.

As Nock explains, "these results are really exciting because they address a long-standing scientific and clinical dilemma by identifying a method of measuring how people are thinking about death and suicide that does not rely on their self-report." He adds, "we are hopeful that this line of research ultimately will provide scientists and clinicians with new tools for measuring how people think about sensitive clinical behaviors that they may be unwilling or unable to report on verbally."

Mahzarin Banaji, also of Harvard University and a co-author of this study, adds that this work presents a strong argument for the importance of funding basic behavioral research. "These results are an example of basic research helping to solving a troubling and devastating problem in every society. The method we used was designed to understand the mind, but it turned into a technique that can predict disorders of a variety of sorts. One wonders why funding agencies that should know better about the value of basic research seem so naive when it comes to decisions about what is in the public's interest," Banaji explains.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Isanski
bisanski@psychologicalscience.org
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Computers do better than humans at measuring some radiology images
2. New scale for measuring addiction to work
3. Researchers aim for consensus on measuring the impact of visual impairment
4. Earlier bedtimes may help protect adolescents against depression and suicidal thoughts
5. Counseling Suicidal Clients by Andrew Reeves
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ProRehab Physical ... be the preferred physical therapy provider for Derby City CrossFit, effective immediately. , ... CrossFit as quickly and effectively as possible, ProRehab’s sports physical therapists will work ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... A recent report from the Wisconsin ... the 2015-16 school year across Wisconsin’s public schools, charter schools, and private schools ... in student test score performance, the report’s limited analyses fail to provide answers ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... As pharmaceutical companies are held to ... process innovation in drug formulation and manufacturing. CoreRx offers its clients more ... in support of their development and manufacturing goals. , The company was ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... ... MD is committed to providing the highest quality of spine care to all his patients. ... all my patients to alleviate possible future issues. I am pleased to have you as ... my trained staff will assist you in any way possible.” , Dr. Saad Chaudhary is ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Vetoquinol USA® , ... Flexadin UCII, part of the EQUISTRO line, at this week’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day ... at the immunologic level. , The scientifically-developed Flexadin UCII supports the body’s normal ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... April 20, 2017 Eyevensys, a ... first non-viral gene expression technology that enables the safe, ... to address a wide range of ophthalmic diseases, announces ... Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to advance its technology ... ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017 The Mobile X-Ray product segment is the ... during the forecast period Mobile X-Ray segment is ... mobile X-Ray devices market, which is estimated to be valued ... a CAGR of 7% over the forecast period. Mobile X-Ray ... than US$ 100 Mn in 2017 over 2016. The segment,s ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... The Global Effective Microorganisms (EM) Market ... has covered and analysed the potential of Global Effective Microorganisms ... shares and growth factors. The report identifies and analyses the ... the global market. ... 152 Tables and Figures, 6 Major Company Profiles, spread across ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: