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Psychological distress because of asking about suicidal thoughts: a randomized controlled trial among students.

Beurs, D.P. de, Ghoncheh, R., Geraedts, A.S., Kerkhof, A.J.F.M. Psychological distress because of asking about suicidal thoughts: a randomized controlled trial among students. Archives of Suicide Research: 2016, 20(2), 153-159
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Objective
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the questions from the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation on psychological well-being among healthy participants.

Method
In a randomized controlled study, 301 participants completed the same 4 questionnaires on psychopathology. The experimental group additionally answered 21 items of the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation. The control group answered 19 items on Quality of Life.

Results
The experimental group showed a significantly smaller decrease of negative affect compared to the control condition. When analyzing participants with an increase in distress, 80% were part of the experimental group. For most participants, answering questions about suicide does not affect their mood. A small group of participants did react with some distress to the questions about suicide. As the questions about suicide were administered immediately before the questions about negative affect, the questions about suicide could have worked as a negative mood challenge.

Conclusion
Future experimental research should further investigate the effect of questions about suicide among healthy participants, especially on the long term. (aut. ref.)