Hopelessness as a measure of suicidal intent in the depressed elderly

Psychol Aging. 1988 Sep;3(3):230-232. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.3.3.230.


Suicidal ideation in the elderly has been related to depression, changes in health, and anticipation of a limited future. The present study examined the Hopelessness Scale (HS) and its relation to these factors in a depressed geriatric population. A total of 120 elderly outpatients, who had applied to receive psychotherapy for depression, completed the HS, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), health ratings, and the Schedule for Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia (SADS) at intake. The HS was found to be internally consistent, and a principal components analysis revealed three distinct factors that were related to hope, feelings of giving up, and future planning. The HS, BDI, and health ratings were predictive of suicidal ideation as measured by specific items in the SADS. The relation among suicidal ideation hopelessness, depression, and health perceptions for the depressed aged are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*