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Behavioral Emergencies Update
spring 2000

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In this issue...

Section VII Programming at APA Convention

Training Providers of Emergency Services for Children in Violence Prevention

News from the American Association of Suicidology Conference

The Critical Need for Valid and Reliable Assessment

Volunteer Opportunities at the APA Convention

Graduate Student Spotlight

Section VII Election Results

Special Offer for Section VII Members

The Critical Need for Valid and Reliable Assessment
by Robert I. Yufit, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
President-Elect, Section VII
Northwestern University Medical Schoo

     The assessment of potential for self-harm (extreme: suicide) or for harm-to-others (extreme: homicide) is a major challenge of our specialty, clinical emergencies and crises. Can we quantify the potential for these complex behaviors? Prediction might be an ultimate goal, but we do not have the needed empirical data to seek such an objective as yet, and there are those who would say that prediction on a single case situation is an unlikely task. Perhaps more realistic, can we evaluate vulnerability of potentially suicidal persons, or violence-prone individuals? More importantly, can we quantify such measures?

     There are a number of correlates for suicidal persons, and some existing scales and questionnaires, which claim to do this task. Is there follow-up on these measures once they are applied? Violence is even more multidimensional, but again, some measures do exist. Have any of you used such measures?

     Can we hear from you on their usefulness? Do you have your own measures which are unpublished? Don't be modest! Can we collaboratively develop some better assessment measures of these areas, and seek to determine how valid and reliable they might be? Let me know. I have my own ideas which I will share in coming workshops, but this is a gigantic task which needs many creative minds who have worked with these populations. Scales, unique demographics, pertinent observations - all are welcome for input! Anyone interested? Please contact me at the Division of Psychology, Northwestern University Medical School, Abbott Hall - Room 1205, 710 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611.