Psychological Autopsy Structured on Individual Cases: Methodological Considerations for A New Protocol

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Franco Posa Jessica Leone Valeria Rondinelli Francesco Sclavi Matteo Posa


Psychological autopsy is an investigative procedure used in cases of "equivocal death" (a situation in which the cause of death is uncertain); it originated in the early 1960s and has since spread to the United States, Europe, and especially Cuba. The initial MAP (Modelo de Autopsia Psicologica) protocol, developed specifically in Cuba, has since evolved into the more current MAPI (Modelo de Autopsia Psicologica Integrado). It is characterized by the use of a retrospective analysis of the deceased's life, with emphasis on risk factors, mental health history and interpersonal relationships.

The Psychological Autopsy is considered one of the most valuable suicide research tools. Information is collected and included in 16 categories (Shneidman) from multiple sources through structured interviews.

Despite its widespread use, the original PA model has several methodological problems that can be overcome through a revision of the protocol from a specialized perspective tailored to each case. The innovative PASIC (Psychological Autopsy Structured on Individual Cases) protocol aims to adapt the psychological autopsy protocol to each case, making it unique and personalized.  PASIC, therefore, is based on principles of individuality and its management by a single specialized professional figure.  This makes it more effective in identifying which subjects to interview and what type of interview to use. The professional will be able to select the appropriate measures to obtain reliable and effective sources of information. Through a review of the origin and development of the psychological autopsy, this article aims to describe the structural and operational features of the new PASIC method and its advantages over the previous protocols.

Keywords: Psychological autopsy, PASIC, MAPI, investigation, interview

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How to Cite
POSA, Franco et al. Psychological Autopsy Structured on Individual Cases: Methodological Considerations for A New Protocol. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 3, mar. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 apr. 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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