The development and initial validation of the geriatric suicide ideation scale

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;14(9):742-51. doi: 10.1097/01.JGP.0000218699.27899.f9.


Objective: The authors report on the development and initial validation of the Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale (GSIS), a new multidimensional measure of suicide ideation and related factors in older adults.

Methods: Study 1 involved development of an initial 66-item measure, administration to a heterogeneous sample of 172 adults 65 years or older, assessment of the measure's factor structure, and subsequent scale reduction and correlation with social desirability. Study 2 involved validation of the reduced scale with a new sample of 107 older adults and psychometric assessment of the measure's reliability and initial validity.

Results: Factor analysis indicated a four-factor structure for the GSIS, with subscales assessing Suicide Ideation, Death Ideation, Loss of Personal and Social Worth, and Perceived Meaning in Life. Psychometric analyses with a new sample indicated strong internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Construct and criterion validity for the GSIS and its subscales were demonstrated by positive associations with measures of depression, hopelessness, and self-reported health problems, and negative associations with life satisfaction and psychological well-being. The 10-item Suicide Ideation subscale also differentiated psychiatric patients from nonpatients.

Conclusions: The GSIS is a psychometrically sound measure of late-life suicide ideation. Findings support the use of its subscales as standalone measures of late-life suicide risk and psychological resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychometrics / standards
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*