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Clin Psychol Sci. 2017 May;5(3):568-592. doi: 10.1177/2167702616686854. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Understanding Suicide Risk within the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Framework: Insights, Challenges, and Future Research Considerations.

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Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester.
Department of Psychology, Columbia University Teachers College.
Department of Psychology, Harvard University.


Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide. Prior research has focused primarily on sociodemographic and psychiatric risk factors with little improvement in the prediction or prevention of suicidal behavior over time. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) may be an especially useful framework for advancing research in this area. This paper provides a brief and broad overview of research on suicidal behavior relating to each of the RDoC domains-highlighting the RDoC construct(s) where research has focused, construct(s) where research is lacking, and suggestions for future research directions. We also discuss major challenges for suicide research within the RDoC framework, including the intersection of RDoC domains, interaction of domains with the environment, incorporation of developmental stage, integration of distal and proximal processes, and inclusion of suicide-specific constructs. We conclude by underscoring important considerations for future research aimed at using the RDoC framework to study suicidal behavior and other forms of psychopathology.


Research Domain Criteria; risk factors; suicide; suicide attempt; suicide prevention

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