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JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Subjective psychological well-being (WHO-5) in assessment of the severity of suicide attempt

Merike Sisask, Airi Värnik, Kairi Kõlves, Kenn Konstabel, Danuta Wasserman
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 2008, 62 (6): 431-5
18846444
An objective way to measure the severity of suicide attempt is to use different psychometric scales. Aspects of suicide risk like suicidal intent, depression, hopelessness and well-being can be assessed and different practical scales are in use to facilitate the risk assessment procedure. The aims of current study were: 1) to analyse the association between the severity of suicide attempt measured by suicidal intent scale and characteristics of emotional status of suicide attempters measured by depression, hopelessness and well-being scales in different gender and age groups; 2) to test the applicability of well-being measured by the World Health Organisation well-being index (WHO-5) in suicide risk assessment. The data on suicide attempters (n=469) was obtained in Estonia (Tallinn) by the WHO Suicide Prevention-Multisite Intervention Study on Suicidal Behaviours (SUPRE-MISS) methodology. Different psychometric scales were used to measure suicidal intent (Pierce Suicidal Intent Scale) and emotional status (Beck Depression Inventory for depression, Beck Hopelessness Scale for hopelessness, WHO-5 for well-being). All psychometric scales correlated well with each other (P<0.05). Low level of well-being associated with high level of suicidal intent, depression and hopelessness. Suicidal intent correlated the most strongly with well-being. Analysis by gender and age groups revealed also significant correlations with two exceptions only: correlation between suicidal intent and hopelessness did not reach the significant level in males and in older adults (40+). The WHO-5 well-being scale, which is a short and emotionally positively loaded instrument measuring protective factors, can be used in settings without psychological/psychiatric expertise in preliminary suicide risk assessment.

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