Ethical issues to consider in designing suicide prevention studies: An expert consensus study
Dempster, G., Ozols, I., Krysinska, K., Reifels, L., Schlichthorst, M., Pirkis, J., & Andriessen, K.
Aim: Research is imperative to advance our understanding of suicidal behavior and its prevention. Suicide prevention research involves various ethical issues, many of which are not straightforward to address. Hence, suicide prevention researchers sometimes face particular issues when designing their research studies. This expert consensus study aimed to identify the most important ethical issues to consider when designing suicide prevention studies. Methods: People with lived experience of suicide (N = 32) and suicide prevention researchers (N = 34) rated 80 statements on a 5-point Likert scale from "essential" to "should not be included." Results: There was significant agreement between and within the two groups of participants with regard to the most highly rated statements. The most highly rated statements for both groups included the importance of the ethical principles of merit, integrity, justice, and beneficence. Additionally, lived experience participants placed emphasis on the support and care for researchers, and suicide prevention researchers placed emphasis on the risk management protocols and support services for participants. Conclusion: There was strong agreement between people with lived experience of suicide and suicide prevention researchers regarding what to consider when designing ethically sound suicide prevention research, including the importance of ethical principles and support for both participants and researchers.HIGHLIGHTSThere was strong agreement between people with lived experience of suicide and researchers.Researchers emphasized adherence to national guidelines.People with lived experience of suicide valued care for study participants and researchers.