Fahy, Thomas J., Mannion, Laura, Leonard, Maeve and Prescott, Philip
Can suicides be identified from case records? A case-control study using blind rating
Archives of Suicide Research, 8, (3), . (doi:10.1080/13811110490436918).
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A majority of case control studies of suicide risks in psychiatric patients reveal an excess of risk factors in cases. None of the case control studies has been conducted blind to case identity. The present study examined the possibility that skilled clinicians could identify suicides blind from case records of last episode of care.
Records of 39 suicides of psychiatric patients and their matched controls (N = 78) were abstracted blind and dichotomously rated for suicide by seven raters. Success in identification of cases approximated to chance expectation. Pending replication, these disappointing findings call in question the clinical utility of risk factor findings to date, their validity as a basis for significant change in service provision and the medico-legal significance of records in suicide-related civil law suits.
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