Relationship between hopelessness and ultimate suicide: a replication with psychiatric outpatients

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Feb;147(2):190-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.2.190.


A prospective study of 1,958 outpatients found that hopelessness, as measured by the Beck Hopelessness Scale, was significantly related to eventual suicide. A scale cutoff score of 9 or above identified 16 (94.2%) of the 17 patients who eventually committed suicide, thus replicating a previous study with hospitalized patients. The high-risk group identified by this cutoff score was 11 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the outpatients. The Beck Hopelessness Scale thus may be used as a sensitive indicator of suicide potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Depressive Disorder / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*