Understanding The Psychological Post-mortem

Whereas a medical post-mortem is actually a bodily examination of the Deceased, a psychological post-mortem is actually a psychological state examination of the Deceased.

There are a selection of the explanation why it may be applicable to undertake a psychological post-mortem, nonetheless, the most typical is to help in figuring out nature of dying.

Estimates recommend that in as much as 20% of circumstances offered to a health worker / coroner the exact mode of dying is unclear. A psychological post-mortem might help handle this ambiguity and set up whether or not dying was on account of pure causes, suicide, accident or homicide.


Throughout the context of a forensic investigation a psychological post-mortem is employed as an information assortment instrument. The most typical supply being interview information obtained from the household and mates of the Deceased.

Acquiring the medical historical past of the Deceased can also be a central element of the psychological post-mortem. Interviewing the physician of the denied and / or analyzing medical data is, subsequently one other vital information assortment supply.

The character of the data collected would often embrace the next:

Biographical info (age, marital standing, occupation).

private info (relationships, way of life, alcohol / drug use, sources of stress).

Secondary info (household historical past, police data, diaries).

It's vital to notice that as with most information assortment protocols processed inside a psychological framework, completely different methodological approaches exist. A helpful means to consider that is by way of means to an finish.

The top is by and huge the identical ie it’s hoped that collectively, info obtained as Berman & Litman (1993) describe lead to a:

'Postdictive evaluation yielding an opinion giving a logical understanding of the connection between the discontinued and the occasions and behaviors that preceded the dying' .

The means by which you attain this finish can, nonetheless, differ barely, for instance, the medical strategy Vs the equivocal dying evaluation strategy favored by FBI.


Whereas there may be actually proof to assist the validity of psychological autopsies per se eg Brent et al (1993), it additionally must be acknowledged generally, the time period psychological post-mortem will not be significantly properly outlined nor standardized for operational use.

One main concern is that there doesn’t look like systematic pointers in place concerning coaching and finest observe. One other, is that relying on the character of the case below evaluate, the particular person finishing up the psychological post-mortem might not have the depth of forensic data required to assist inform the reason for dying eg blood splatter evaluation.

It’s for these causes that it’s in all probability wise to view the psychological post-mortem as simply one of many many investigative instruments obtainable inside a reason behind dying investigation.

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