Attentional bias toward suicide-relevant information in suicide attempters: A cross-sectional study and a meta-analysis.

TitleAttentional bias toward suicide-relevant information in suicide attempters: A cross-sectional study and a meta-analysis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRichard-Devantoy S, Ding Y, Turecki G, Jollant F
JournalJ Affect Disord
Date Published2016 May 15
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Attentional Bias, Case-Control Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Information Seeking Behavior, Male, Middle Aged, Stroop Test, Suicide, Suicide, Attempted, Young Adult

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies using a modified Stroop test suggested that suicide attempters, in contrast to depressed patients with no suicidal history, display a particular attentional bias toward suicide-related cues. However, negative results have also been reported. In the present study, we collected new data and pooled them as part of a meta-analysis intended to shed further light on this question.METHOD: We conducted 1) a cross-sectional study comparing performance on the modified Stroop task for suicide-related, positively-valenced and negatively-valenced words in 33 suicide attempters and 46 patient controls with a history of mood disorders; 2) a systematic review and a meta-analysis of studies comparing performance on the modified Stroop task among patients with vs. without a history of suicidal acts in mood disorders.RESULTS: The cross-sectional study showed no significant difference in interference scores for any type of words between suicide attempters and patient controls. A meta-analysis of four studies, including 233 suicide attempters and 768 patient controls, showed a significant but small attentional bias toward suicide-related words (Hedges'g=0.22, 95%CI [0.06-0.38], Z=2.73, p=0.006), but not negatively-valenced words (Hedges'g=0.06, 95%CI [-0.09-0.22], Z=0.77, p=0.4) in suicide attempters compared to patient controls.LIMITATIONS: Positively-valenced words and healthy controls could not be assessed in the meta-analysis.CONCLUSION: Our data support a selective information-processing bias among suicide attempters. Indirect evidence suggests that this effect would be state-related and may be a cognitive component of the suicidal crisis. However, we could not conclude about the clinical utility of this Stroop version at this stage.

Alternate JournalJ Affect Disord
PubMed ID26919059