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Effect of Patient and Therapist Factors on Suicide Risk Assessment

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The present study examined how patient risk factors and clinician demographics predict the assessment of suicide risk. Clinicians (N = 333) read two vignettes, one of which manipulated patient risk factors, then rated the patient's likelihood of suicide and need for hospitalization. Clinicians’ assessments were heterogeneous. Results indicated that certain patient risk factors (access to excess medication) and clinician demographics (relationship status, religiosity) predicted perceived suicide risk; and, moreover, clinicians’ suicide risk assessment did not always align with the decision to hospitalize the patient. The authors discuss methods for standardizing clinicians’ judgment of risk and minimizing error through debiasing strategies (cognitive forcing strategy).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: August 9, 2015

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