Year: 2018 Source: Psychological Assessment. (2016). 28(11): 1510-1515. Published online 28 January 2016. DOI: 10.1037/pas0000280 SIEC No: 20180401

The high-stakes nature of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) raises ethical questions and concerns. The authors examined the iatrogenic risk of recently developed behavioral measures such as the suicide or self-injury Implicit Association Tests (IATs), which include repeated and rapid presentation of SITB-related images (e.g., of cut skin) and words (e.g., death, suicide). The impact of these IATs was investigated across a series of 3 studies involving: adult web-based respondents (n = 3,304), undergraduate students (n = 100), and adolescent psychiatric inpatients (n = 89). There was minimal change in self-injurious or suicidal urges detected across all IAT studies. A slight mood decline was detected across the 3 samples, but was isolated to female research participants and 1 type of IAT that presented SITB-related images (vs. words only). Given the increasing use of novel SITB-relevant stimuli in behavioral and neurobiological studies, these findings may help researchers balance clinical sensitivity and clinical science.