Navigation Links
Psychologists develop 2 potent new predictors of suicide risk
Date:7/28/2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 28, 2010 -- Two powerful new tests developed by psychologists at Harvard University show great promise in predicting patients' risk of attempting suicide.

The work may help clinicians overcome their reliance on self-reporting by at-risk individuals, information that often proves misleading when suicidal patients wish to hide their intentions. Both new tests are easily administered within minutes on a computer, giving quick insight into how patients are thinking about suicide, as well as their propensity to attempt suicide in the near future.

"Experts have long sought a clear behavioral marker of suicide risk," says Harvard Professor of Psychology Matthew K. Nock, an author of two papers describing the new assessments of suicidal behavior. "The current approach, based on self-reporting, leads to predictions that are scarcely better than chance, since suicidal patients are often motivated to conceal or misrepresent their mental state. We sought to develop more sophisticated, objective measures of how psychiatric patients are thinking about suicide. Our work provides two important new tools clinicians can use in deciding how to treat potentially suicidal patients."

Nock and colleagues report on the tests in two papers, one in the current Journal of Abnormal Psychology and a second published in Psychological Science. Unlike many previous efforts focused on biological markers of suicidal behavior, their work identifies two behavioral markers: subjects' attention to suicide-related stimuli, and the extent to which they associate death or suicide with themselves.

In one study by Nock's group, 124 patients in a psychiatric emergency department were administered a modified Stroop test measuring speed in articulating the color of words on a computer screen. Suicidal individuals were found to pay more attention to suicide-related words than to neutral words.

"Suicide Stroop scores predicted six-month follow-up suicide attempts above and beyond well-known risk factors such as a history of suicide attempts, patients' reported likelihood of attempt, and clinicians' predictions regarding patients' likelihood of attempt," says co-author Christine B. Cha, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard.

A second study adapted the Implicit Association Test developed by Harvard psychologist Mahzarin R. Banaji, using reaction times to semantic stimuli to measure 157 subjects' automatic mental associations -- in this case, the strength of associations between words related to "self" and words related to either "life" or "death/suicide." Participants were shown pairs of words on a screen, with response speed revealing unconscious associations between the terms. For instance, a rapid response to stimuli associating self with death/suicide suggests a strong unconscious association between the two.

Nock and his colleagues found that those participants with strong associations between self and death/suicide were six times more likely to attempt suicide within the next six months than those holding stronger associations between self and life.

"These findings suggest that a person's implicit cognition may guide which behavior he or she chooses to cope with extreme distress," Nock says. "More specifically, an implicit association with death/suicide may represent one of the final steps in the pathway to suicide."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Theravive.com Offers A Free Therapist Listing For Credentialed Counselors and Psychologists
2. Psychologists Say New Jerseys Largest Health Plan Violates Patient Privacy, Restricts Access to Care and Wastes Taxpayer Money
3. Battlefield psychologists investigate stress in combat and after
4. UC Berkeley psychologists bring science of happiness to China
5. Cochlear Appoints Switched on Media to Develop its SEO Across the Asia Pacific Region
6. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $1 Million to Drive Critical New Research Tools and Technologies in Parkinsons Drug Development
7. Alexza and Biovail Form Collaboration to Develop and Commercialize AZ-004 (Staccato(R) Loxapine) in North America
8. Hayes Announces Appointment Of Dr Susan Levine To The Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC)
9. Developing guidelines for better reporting of health research
10. Medical Nurse Training, Inc. Partners With Healthcare Companies to Develop Corporate Branded, Accredited Programs for Patient/Bed Safety and Fall Prevention/Protection
11. Clemson researchers develop hands-free texting application
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On ... as sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle ... honor of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan ... require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 ... Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June ... a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments ... of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... N.C. , June 24, 2016  Consumers ... decisions and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on ... environment, patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry ... patients, medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on ... they are providing products and services that improve ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Global Blood ... biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment ... today announced the closing of its previously announced ... stock, at the public offering price of $18.75 ... offering were offered by GBT. GBT estimates net ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 ... the addition of the " Global Markets for ... This report focuses on ... updated review, including its applications in various applications. The ... which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: