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Suicide Risk Prediction

John G. Cull, PhD; Gale H. Rom, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(3):309. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790140099013.
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To the Editor.—  Following are comments on Pokorny's report on prediction of suicide.1 Although Pokorny is a distinguished researcher in this field, we believe there are some limitations to his method that give an overly pessimistic outlook on the possibilities of suicide prediction and prevention. Pokorny assumed suicide is undesirable and should be prevented. We do not, however, understand the relationship between these laudable assumptions and his study, nor the impact of these assumptions on his study.Pokorny reviewed previous attempts to predict suicidal behavior. Yet the average age of his references was over 11 years and his most recent reference was three years old. Those three-year-old references contain nothing pertaining to the prediction of suicide, but merely identify groups that have committed suicide in Alberta and the United States. We suggest that Pokorny review some of the more recent attempts at assessment of suicidal risk.2While Pokorny


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