Objectives: Across age groups, bipolar disorder (BD) carries the greatest risk of death by suicide of all psychiatric conditions; 25%-50% of those with BD will make one or more suicide attempt. Psychometrically sound instruments are required to reliably measure suicide ideation and risk of self-harm for older adults with BD. For this study, we validate the geriatric suicide ideation scale (GSIS) with adults 50+ years with BD.
Methods: We recruited a global sample of 220 older adults with BD (M = 58.50 years of age) over 19 days using socio-demographically targeted, social media advertising and online data collection. To demonstrate the construct validation of GSIS responses by older adults with BD, we computed correlations and performed regression analyses to identify predictors of suicide ideation.
Results: Our analyses support a four-factor model of responses to the GSIS (ideation, death ideation, loss of personal and social worth, and perceived meaning in life) measuring a higher order latent construct. Older adults with BD reporting low satisfaction with life and current depressive symptoms, and who misuse alcohol, report significantly higher levels of suicide ideation. Sleep quality and cognitive failures are also correlated with GSIS responses.
Conclusions: Results support the factorial validity of the GSIS with older adults with BD. Similar to other populations, the GSIS measures a four-factor structure of suicide ideation. Across BD subtypes, the GSIS appears to reliably measure suicide ideation among older adults with BD.
Keywords: Bipolar disorder; Geriatric Suicide Ideation Scale; older adults; reliability; suicide ideation; validity.