Volume 31, Issue 1 (January 1986)
The Impact of Psychological Autopsies on Medical Examiners' Determination of Manner of Death
This study evaluated the impact of psychological information on medical examiners' determination of manner of death in equivocal cases. Ten cases, a typical and equivocal case for each of five case types (single car, child, autoerotic, psychotic, and Russian roulette death) were evaluated for manner of death by 195 medical examiner subjects. From this sample 95 control subjects received 10 cases made up of physical and circumstantial evidence, while 100 experimental subjects received the same 10 cases expanded with brief psychological autopsies. Psychological information was shown to have a statistically significant impact on subjects' determination (and certainty) of manner of death is equivocal cases and even in some typical cases.