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W-06: Preferred Method for Answering Questions about Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors (SIB) in Patients at Greater Risk for SIB

Poster Presenter

      Jenny Ly

      • Senior Scientific Advisor
      • ERT
        United States


Patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and chronic illnesses are at greater risk for having suicidal ideation and behaviors (SIB). This study examined at-risk patients preferred method for answering questions about SIB.


Participants were recruited via ClinicalConnection. Respondents completed an online survey, which assessed their preferred method in answering questions about thoughts of suicide or acts of self-harm.


A total of 217 participants responded to our survey. 83 participants reported being diagnosed with at least one psychiatric disorder (i.e., affective disorders, addiction, or schizophrenia), or chronic illness (i.e., cancer, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and degenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Participants were diverse in age (39% age 18-45, 35% age 46-60, 26% over age 60). 66% of the participants were female. The majority of participants, 62.7% stated that they would prefer to answer these questions electronically, including on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or interactive phone system. Only 26% of participants preferred to answer the questions in person, with a healthcare professional.


Suicide is a leading cause of death and disability, ranked 10th across all ages in the United States (CDC/WISQARS 2016). The risk for suicide for patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, including affective disorder, schizophrenia, and addiction, have been well documented. Less well known, though the evidence is growing, is the risk of suicide among patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and degenerative disorders. It is difficult to know the true extent of the problem because people often do not reveal or are not honest about their SIB. An important factor affecting rates of suicidal behavior is failure to recognize the problem by those who come into contact with people at risk for suicide (Greist et al, 1973). There is evidence to suggest that in the presence of an “interviewer,” self-disclosure of sensitive behaviors (e.g. suicidality) is decreased (Gnambs & Kaspar 2014). Clinical practice and clinical research are both ideal settings to identify SIB. Reducing suicide rates in those at risk for suicide will depend on early detection and intervention. Thus, identifying methods for eliciting honest responses on SIB are critical to patient safety and determining drug efficacy and safety. Results from our study showed that the majority of participants reported that they preferred to answer screening questions in an electronic format. Our results suggest that electronic assessment of SIB may be an approach to screen for SIB in patient populations that are at greater risk. Authors: Ly JJ, Yamamoto, R, Durand E, Gary, S, Tuller JM, Dallabrida SM

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