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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;40(9):1053-61.

Multimethod assessment of suicidality in adolescent psychiatric inpatients: preliminary results.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.



To examine agreement among multiple assessments of adolescent suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior for adolescent psychiatric inpatients, including pencil/paper checklists; structured and unstructured interviews; and adolescent, clinician, and parent reports, and to provide suggestions for the accurate and reliable assessment of suicidality in adolescence.


Participants included 153 adolescent psychiatric inpatients (54 boys, 99 girls) between the ages of 12 and 17 years. Measurement of suicidal ideation and behavior included common assessment instruments and standard clinical practices, including the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire, NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, clinician interview, and parent report (Behavior Assessment Scale for Children).


Results revealed significantly different rates of suicidality across each instrument and poor to moderate agreement between similar measures of adolescent suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior. Agreement between measures was generally best for boys, for older adolescents, and for assessments relying on a single informant. Reporters were most likely to agree on the presence of suicidality for more severely suicidal adolescents; this finding suggests that agreement in itself may be a useful marker for adolescent suicide.


Results of this preliminary study supported the use of multiple measurement approaches when examining adolescent suicidality, particularly those that rely on clinician judgment and adolescents' own reports. Implications for future research and for clinical practice are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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