Date of Award

Spring 1977

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Topetzes, Nich J.

Second Advisor

Nordberg, Robert B.

Third Advisor

Tagatz, Glenn


The suicide rate among psychiatric patients is dramatically higher than the general population rate. Efforts to reduce this rate require that potential suicides be identified in advance. Traditional measures of patients psychological condition, notably the MMPI, have only limited success in identifying suicides. However, the virtual exclusion of females and of covertly suicidal patients from these studies, as well as the use of a restricted criterion suicide committed while on the hospital rolls suggests that their use has not been fully explored. The literature review indicated that clinical judgements, presumably based upon patients psychological condition, could identify suicides as accurately as statistical or objective measures; a determination of the comparative validity of statistical and clinical prediction techniques therefore seemed in order. The study population consisted of 6500 current or former patients of a community mental health center in a large Midwest urban area, all of whom had been referred for psychological assessment; the base rate of suicide in the population was 1.70 per cent. A sample of 75 suicides and their controls, matched for sex and age, was drawn retrospectively from this population. The demographic and clinical composition of the two groups was quite similar. The suicides (s) and their matched controls (NS) were divided into an initial sample of 76 and a cross-validation sample of 74. The statistical prediction method utilized a discriminant function based upon uncorrected validating and clinical scales of the MMPI; the clinical prediction consisted of a statement in a patient's psychological report indicating that he or she was a suicide risk...



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