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Patients’ own statements of their future risk for violent and self-harm behaviour: A prospective inpatient and post-discharge follow-up study in an acute psychiatric unit

Psychiatry Research. (2010) 178: s .153–159 | 2010


Recently patients' responsibility for and ownership of their own treatment have been emphasised. A
literature search on patients'' structured self-reported assessment of future risk of violent, suicidal or self
mutilating behaviour failed to disclose any published empirical research. The present prospective naturalistic
study comprised all involuntary and voluntary acutely admitted patients (n=489) to a psychiatric hospital
during one year. Patients' self-reported risks of violence and self-harm at admission and at discharge were
compared with episodes recorded during hospital stay and 3 months post-discharge. Patients' predictions
were significant concerning violent, suicidal and self-injurious behaviour, with AUC values of 0.73 (95%
CI=0.61–0.85), 0.92 (95%CI=0.88–0.96) and 0.82 (95%CI=0.67–0.98) for hospital stay, and 0.67 (95%
CI=0.58–0.76), 0.63 (95%CI=0.55–0.72) and 0.66 (95%CI=0.57–0.76) after 3 months, respectively.
Moderate or higher risk predictions remained significant in multivariate analysis, and risk of violence even
after gender stratification. Self-harm predictions were significant for women. Moderate or higher risk scores
remained significant predictors of violence one year post-discharge. Controlling for readmissions the results
remained the same. Low sensitivity limits the clinical value, but relatively high positive predictive values
might be clinically important. Still future research is recommended to explore if self prediction is a valid
adjuvant method to established risk assessment procedures.