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The suicide assessment scale: Psychometric properties of a Norwegian language version

Bjørn Odd Koldsland12, Lars Mehlum2*, Liv Solrunn Mellesdal3, Fredrik A Walby24 and Lien M Diep25

Author Affiliations

1 Vestre Viken Health Trust, Ringerike Hospital psychiatric out-patient clinic, Oslo, Norway

2 National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

3 Psychiatric Division, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

4 Department of Psychiatry, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway

5 Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:417  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-417

Published: 7 August 2012



Rating scales are valuable tools in suicide research and can also be useful supplements to the clinical interview in suicide risk assessments. This study describes the psychometric properties of a Norwegian language version of the Suicide Assessment Scale Self-report version (SUAS-S).


Participants were fifty-two patients (mean age = 39.3 years, SD = 10.7) with major depression (53.8%), bipolar disorder (25.0%) and/or a personality disorder (63.5%) referred to a psychiatric outpatient clinic. The SUAS-S, the screening section of the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS-5), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck’s Hopelessness Scale (BHS), the Symptom Check-List-90 R (SCL-90R) and the Clinical Global Impression for Severity of Suicidality (CGI-SS) were administered. One week later, the patients completed the SUAS-S a second time.


Cronbach’s alpha for SUAS-S was 0.88 and the test–retest reliability was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.93– 0.97). SUAS-S was positively correlated with the BSS-5 (r = 0.66; 95% CI: 0.47–0.85) for the study sample as a whole and for the suicidal (r = 0.52) and non-suicidal groups (r = 0.50) respectively. There was no difference between the SUAS-S and the BSS-5 in the ability to identify suicidality. This ability was more pronounced when the suicide risk was high. There was a substantial intercorrelation between the score on the SUAS-S and the BDI (0.81) and the BHS (0.76). The sensitivity and specificity of the SUAS-S was explored and an appropriate clinical cut-off value was assessed.


The study revealed good internal consistency, test–retest reliability and concurrent validity for the Suicide Assessment Scale Self-report version. The discriminatory ability for suicidality was comparable to that of the BSS-5.