Is suicide assessment harmful to participants? Findings from a randomized controlled trial

K. M. Harris, Melissa Ting-Tong Goh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


There is considerable debate on whether suicide assessment carries an iatrogenic risk for participants/patients. A double-blind randomized controlled trial (registration: R000022314) tested the emotional impact of suicide assessment on participants (n = 259) randomly assigned to experimental (n = 122) or control conditions (n = 137). The experimental condition included the Suicidal Affect-Behavior-Cognition Scale and intensive death-related questions, the control condition a quality of life scale. Both included measures of depression, social support and loneliness. Affective states were assessed immediately before and after testing, and research biases minimized. Post-test debriefing interviews collected qualitative reactions. Experimental participants ranged from nonsuicidal to highly suicidal. Between-groups ANCOVAs and repeated measures ANOVAs showed no differences by study condition, and no pre-post-test affect changes for either condition or suicidal participants (P > 0.10), supporting the null hypothesis of no iatrogenic effects. However, depressive participants in both conditions showed significant decreases in positive affect (P 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date16 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2017

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Is suicide assessment harmful to participants? Findings from a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this