Known unknowns and unknown unknowns in suicide risk assessment: evidence from meta-analyses of aleatory and epistemic uncertainty
OPEN BJPsych bulletin | 7 Jun 2017
M Large, C Galletly, N Myles, CJ Ryan and H Myles
Suicide risk assessment aims to reduce uncertainty in order to focus treatment and supervision on those who are judged to be more likely to die by suicide. In this article we consider recent meta-analytic research that highlights the difference between uncertainty about suicide due to chance factors (aleatory uncertainty) and uncertainty that results from lack of knowledge (epistemic uncertainty). We conclude that much of the uncertainty about suicide is aleatory rather than epistemic, and discuss the implications for clinicians.
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