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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 208-209
Methodological considerations in studying psycho-social aspects of suicide

Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Apr-2014

How to cite this article:
Mandal P, Prakash S. Methodological considerations in studying psycho-social aspects of suicide. Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:208-9

How to cite this URL:
Mandal P, Prakash S. Methodological considerations in studying psycho-social aspects of suicide. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Dec 10];56:208-9. Available from:


I read carefully both the article by Kumar and George [1] and their response to a letter in the current issue of this journal which focuses on the psychosocial correlates of suicide. This important issue has been largely unexplored in Indian subcontinent. The study is well conceptualized and the scales and questionnaires used are highly suitable for use in Indian population. However, I would still like to highlight few limitations of the study, which are as follows:

  1. Universe of sample for controls is not adequately explained.
  2. General Health Questionnaire-12 [2] screens for current nonpsychotic illnesses only and not enough sensitive to detect ongoing psychotic illness. Hence, the possibility of unidentified psychotic illness and unreliable response for scales and questionnaires among a number of individuals in the control group is not ruled out. Either obtaining a detail clinical history (medical and psychiatric) and mental state examination by mental health professionals or by using screening instrument like mini-international neuropsychiatric interview. [3] Would have served the purpose adequately.
  3. Using these scales and questionnaire 1 week immediately after an attempted suicide increases the possibility of colored responses particularly in the Social Support Questionnaire, psychological, social relationship domain of WHO-QOL Bref scale, [4] hence leading to possible false low score among suicide attempters. The possibility of false score remains high among those with adjustment disorder, depression.
  4. The possibility of unreliable responses among subjects with ongoing psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia in all the scales cannot be ruled out completely.
  5. These scales could have picked up reliable responses if used among those suicide attempters currently in remission for any psychiatric illness. This could be ascertained by validated instruments with cut-off scores, mental state examination and also obtaining or confirming history from a defined key informant.
  6. History of medical comorbidity among both groups, which might produce low score on WHO-QOL Bref, also has not been ruled out.
  7. Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) coping styles questionnaire [5] having 87 items has been wrongly quoted as "AECOM coping style scale" having 95 items.

   References Top

1.Kumar PN, George B. Life events, social support, coping strategies, and quality of life in attempted suicide: A case-control study. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55:46-51.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Goldberg D, Williams P. A User's Guide to the General Health Questionnaire. Windsor: NFER-Nelson; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Sheehan DV, Lecrubier Y, Sheehan KH, Amorim P, Janavs J, Weiller E, et al. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.): The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59 Suppl 20:22-33.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Murphy B, Herrman H, Hawthorne G, Pinzone T, Evert H. Australian WHOQoL Instruments: User's Manual and Interpretation Guide. Melbourne, Australia: Australian WHOQoL Field Study Centre; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Plutchick R, Conte HR. Measuring emotions and the derivatives of the emotions: Personality traits, ego defenses and coping styles. In: Wetzler S, Kats MN, editors. Contemporary Approaches to Psychological Assessment. New York: Brunner Maze; 1989. p. 239-69.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Piyali Mandal
Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.130518

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