Three assessment tools for deliberate self-harm and suicide behavior: evaluation and psychopathological correlates

Herbert Fliege, Rueya-Daniela Kocalevent, Otto B Walter, Stefanie Beck, Kim L Gratz, Peter M Gutierrez, Burghard F Klapp
Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2006, 61 (1): 113-21

OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study are to adapt two validated self-report questionnaires of deliberate self-harm and suicidal behavior to German, to investigate their psychometric properties and agreement with clinician-administered ratings, and to examine their psychopathological correlates.

METHODS: The Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory [Gratz KL. Measurement of deliberate self-harm: preliminary data on the deliberate self-harm inventory. J Psychopathol Behav 2001;23:253-263] and the Self-Harm Behavior Questionnaire [Guttierez PM, Osman A, Barrios FX, Kopper BA. Development and initial validation of the self-harm behavior questionnaire. J Pers Assess 2001;77:475-490] were completed by 361 patients hospitalized for depressive, anxiety, adjustment, somatoform, and/or eating disorders. A clinician-administered rating scale of self-destructive behavior was included. Psychopathological variables were assessed by standardized questionnaires.

RESULTS: The self-report questionnaires demonstrated good reliability (alpha=.81-.96, split-half r=.78-.98, test-retest r=.65-.91). Reliability of the clinician-administered ratings was acceptable (interrater kappa=.46-.77, test-retest kappa=.35-.48). Intraclass correlations (ICC=.68) for all three instruments were satisfactory. Rates of self-harm and associations between self-harm and suicidal behaviors are reported. The findings support the hypotheses of a higher degree of psychiatric symptomatology in patients with self-harm behavior compared to those without.

CONCLUSION: The two questionnaire adaptations are reliable and valid self-report scales for the assessment of self-harm and past suicidal behavior.

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