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.