Improving care. Changing lives.

Child Mental Health Forum - Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:15am
Matthew Nock


Why do People Hurt Themselves? Using New Technologies to Better Understand, Predict, and Prevent Suicidal Behavior

Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D.
Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology,
Harvard University

A major and long-standing challenge to understanding self-harm is that because these behaviors are transient in nature and cannot be induced for study in the laboratory for ethical reasons, until very recently, they have never been observed in research studies. Obtaining data on the actual occurrence of a phenomenon is essential for understanding why it occurs but has not previously been done in the case of suicidal/self-injurious behaviors. Toward this end, we have been conducting studies using electronic diaries and ambulatory physiological monitoring methods to measure suicidal/self-injurious thoughts and behaviors as they naturally occur in real-time.

Target Audience: Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, child neurologists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health clinicians and researchers, and students and trainees.

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify risk factors for suicidal behavior.
  2. Understand how implicit cognitions about suicide can help identify those at risk.
  3. Explain how new technologies can help improve the understanding, prediction, and prevention of suicidal behavior.


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