Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(4), 673-683. SIEC No: 20230027

Case–control psychological autopsy studies are the research standard for the postmortem, quantitative study of ongoing or recent risk factors for suicide. We aimed to develop a reliable checklist of methodological quality of these studies.
We adapted items from a validated checklist to address general methodological elements and created novel items to address the unique aspects of psychological autopsy research to generate a 16-item checklist assessing reporting, external validity, internal validity, and power. We used percent agreement and kappa to evaluate inter-rater reliability of the items and overall checklist based on independent ratings of 26 case–control psychological autopsy studies conducted internationally. We also summed the items to generate overall quality ratings, assessing internal consistency with coefficient alpha (α).
Inter-rater reliability for the overall checklist was high (percent agreement, 86.5%) and that based conservatively on kappa was substantial (κ .71) whereas internal consistency was low (α = 0.56). The inter-rater reliability of the individual items showed acceptable to high agreement.
A novel checklist provides a reliable means to assess the methodological quality of specific elements of quantitative case–control psychological autopsy studies, providing detailed guidance in planning such studies. Lower internal consistency may limit its utility as a summary measure of study quality.