A cross-national tool for assessing and studying suicidal behaviors.
Lopez-Castroman, J.~~Baca-Garcia, E.~~et al.
Current methodologies employed in collecting data for suicide research present several limitations. In this article, we describe a novel method and tool to prospectively study suicidal behavior and its related risk and protective factors in different countries. This tool is a web-based database, which will initially be developed and piloted by suicide research groups from Austria, Brazil, Chile, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the US. The database will develop and integrate research tools key to collaboration, permit exploration of ethical considerations, and provide a universal interface in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German that will make it possible to incorporate new groups from different countries to the network. The common database resulting of this cross-national effort will allow researchers to share and compare data across countries in a large sample of patients. Using anonymous electronic records of patients, we will: 1) determine the impact of risk and protective factors (viz. aggression and religious affiliation) in different socio-cultural environments; 2) develop a clinical model of suicidal behavior that integrates the multiple dimensions implicated; 3) try differentiating the effects of biological, environmental, and cultural factors on suicidal behavior, and 4) offer the global psychiatric research community a tool that will standardize assessment across nations, allowing for better generalization.