The effect of participating in suicide research: does participating in a research protocol on suicide and psychiatric symptoms increase suicide ideation and attempts?

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2010 Dec;40(6):535-43. doi: 10.1521/suli.2010.40.6.535.


The effect of engaging in an intensive research protocol that inquired extensively about psychiatric and suicide symptoms and exposed participants to a number of images, including suicide-related content was explored. Individuals experiencing a major depressive episode were called at 1 and 3 months after the initial protocol. Participants were asked about changes in suicide ideation and the occurrence of self-harm or suicide attempts following participation. Participants reported experiencing reductions in suicide ideation at the first follow-up and no changes at the second follow-up. No participant reported having engaged in self-harm or having attempted suicide at either follow-up. Results suggest that basic science/nontreatment research can be conducted safely with suicidal participants and in a manner that does not increase suicide symptoms or suicide risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavioral Research*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult