The Psychological Autopsy: Solving the Mysteries of Death

Charles L Scott, Elena Swartz, Katherine Warburton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The psychological autopsy is an important assessment tool used to identify aspects of a person's life that explain any lingering mystery that shrouds their death. In addition to answering questions of the past, the psychological autopsy has significant implications for the future. Statistics obtained from mortality data affect the course of health care research, the flow of resources, and ultimately public health policy. From a public health perspective, the misclassification of suicides as accidents or deaths from natural causes can negatively affect research funding and policy development related to suicide prevention efforts, making a standardized and accurate procedure imperative. Although the psychological autopsy was developed initially as a tool to assist the coroner in clarifying the cause of death, this procedure has transcended the confines of forensic science and has applications in the many arenas of litigation and public health policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-822
Number of pages18
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

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Autopsy
Public Health
Public Policy
Psychology
Health Policy
Suicide
Cause of Death
Forensic Sciences
Coroners and Medical Examiners
Policy Making
Health Services Research
Jurisprudence
Accidents
Mortality
Research
Transcend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

The Psychological Autopsy : Solving the Mysteries of Death. / Scott, Charles L; Swartz, Elena; Warburton, Katherine.

In: Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Vol. 29, No. 3, 09.2006, p. 805-822.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Scott, Charles L ; Swartz, Elena ; Warburton, Katherine. / The Psychological Autopsy : Solving the Mysteries of Death. In: Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2006 ; Vol. 29, No. 3. pp. 805-822.
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