Studying Chinese suicide with proxy-based data: reliability and validity of the methodology and instruments in China

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Jul;191(7):450-7. doi: 10.1097/01.NMD.0000081613.03157.D9.


This study examined the reliability and validity of the instruments as used in the psychological autopsy method in China. With data from 130 informants on 66 completed suicides and 130 informants on 66 normal community controls and 66 controls themselves, the validity was examined by comparing the responses of informants and the responses (gold standards) of the target participants in the control group. All the tested instruments were shown to be reliable, and proxy respondents were generally good judges of targets' suicidal intention, social support, depression, life events, personality traits, and mental disorders. Additionally, interrater reliabilities of the five interviewers were very good on selected scales. This study has laid a partial foundation for future psychological autopsy projects to be held in Chinese culture.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • China / ethnology
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Proxy
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Social Support
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires