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Psychol Assess. 2013 Jun;25(2):424-34. doi: 10.1037/a0031264. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

A tool for the culturally competent assessment of suicide: the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide (CARS) measure.

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Department of Psychology, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.


Despite important differences in suicide presentation and risk among ethnic and sexual minority groups, cultural variations have typically been left out of systematic risk assessment paradigms. A new self-report instrument for the culturally competent assessment of suicide, the Cultural Assessment of Risk for Suicide (CARS) measure, was administered to a diverse sample of 950 adults from the general population. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a 39-item, 8-factor structure subsumed under and consistent with the Cultural Theory and Model of Suicide (Chu, Goldblum, Floyd, & Bongar, 2010), which characterizes the vast majority of cultural variation in suicide risk among ethnic and sexual minority groups. Psychometric properties showed that the CARS total and subscale scores demonstrated good internal consistency, convergent validity with scores on other suicide-related measures (the Suicide Ideation Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory suicide item, and the Beck Hopelessness Scale), and an ability to discriminate between participants with versus without history of suicide attempts. Regression analyses indicated that the CARS measure can be used with a general population, providing information predictive of suicidal behavior beyond that of minority status alone. Minorities, however, reported experiencing the CARS cultural risk factors to a greater extent than nonminorities, though effect sizes were small. Overall, results show that the CARS items are reliable, and the instrument identifies cultural suicide risk factors not previously attended to in suicide assessment. The CARS is the first to operationalize a systematic model that accounts for cultural competency across multiple cultural identities in suicide risk assessment efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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