ERIC Number: ED300724
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
How Useful Are Suicide Risk Ratings?
Stelmachers, Zigfrids T.; Sherman, Robert E.
The clinical usefulness of various empirically derived suicide potential rating scales has been questioned by several suicidologists. This study used actual case histories in an attempt to anchor suicide risk ratings. Thirty-three brief case histories of suicidal patients were given to 19 experienced crisis workers for seven-point ratings of short- and long-term suicide risk. The ratings revealed considerable variability, raising questions about the reliability of such global assessments of suicidality. The most consistently rated cases were selected to operationally define "mild,""moderate," and "high" risk, making each level anchored by several vignettes. It is hoped that these anchor points will lead to more uniform and comparable ratings among crisis workers. The correlation between short- and long-term risk ranged from near zero to as high as .82, demonstrating the need to rate both separately. Long-term risk was more difficult to rate, as demonstrated by a larger number of cases judged to be unrateable because of "insufficient information." The findings have implications for both practice and future research. (Summaries of the case histories are appended.) (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Suicidology (21st, Washington, DC, April 13-17, 1988).