On the Iatrogenic Risk of Assessing Suicidality: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Previous studies have failed to detect an iatrogenic effect of assessing suicidality. However, the perception that asking about suicide may induce suicidality persists. This meta-analysis quantitatively synthesized research concerning the iatrogenic risks of assessing suicidality. This review included studies that explicitly evaluated the iatrogenic effects of assessing suicidality via prospective research methods. Thirteen articles were identified that met inclusion criteria. Evaluation of the pooled effect of assessing suicidality with regard to negative outcomes did not demonstrate significant iatrogenic effects. Our findings support the appropriateness of universal screening for suicidality, and should allay fears that assessing suicidality is harmful.

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