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Psychiatrists' experiences of suicide assessment
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2016 (English)In: BMC Psychiatry, ISSN 1471-244X, E-ISSN 1471-244X, Vol. 16, 440Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Clinical guidelines for suicide prevention often stress the identification of risk and protective factors as well as the evaluation of suicidal intent. However, we know very little about what psychiatrists actually do when they make these assessments. The aim was to investigate psychiatrists' own accounts of suicide assessment consultations, with a focus on their behaviors, attitudes and emotions.

Method: Semi-structured in depth interviews were carried out with a purposive selection of 15 psychiatrists.

Results: Thematic analysis revealed three main themes: understanding the patient in a precarious situation, understanding one's own reactions, and understanding how the doctor-patient relationship impacted on risk assessment and management decisions. Emotional contact and credibility issues were common subthemes that arose when the respondents talked about trying to understand the patient. The psychiatrists stressed the semi-intuitive nature of their assessments. Problems related to the use of risk factor assessments and rating scales were apparent. Assessment consultations could evoke physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, and concerns about responsibility could lead to repressive management decisions. In situations of mutual trust, however, the assessment consultation could kick-start a therapeutic process.

Conclusion: This study highlights psychiatrists' experiences in clinical suicide assessment situations. Findings have implications for professional development as well as for service delivery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 16, 440
Keyword [en]
Suicide assessment, Psychiatrists' experiences, Involuntary care, Medical training, Professional development
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130230DOI: 10.1186/s12888-016-1147-4ISI: 000390391400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-130230DiVA: diva2:1065828
Available from: 2017-01-16 Created: 2017-01-14 Last updated: 2017-01-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf