Development of a Suicidal Potential Scale for Adolescents: Symposium 13: COFALP/GLADET: Important Topics in Mental Health: Suicide, Violence, and the Changing View of “Truth” (in Spanish)

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In Mexico, suicide is one of the five principal causes of death in childhood and adolescence; in this population, 78.2% of suicides involve adolescents between 15 and 19 years old, and 21.5% involve youth between 10 and 14 years old. Faced with this grave problem, and in the absence of psychometric scales for the evaluation of suicidal potential adapted to the Mexican population, we developed our own instrument that measures suicidal potential for the child and adolescent population. In order to develop this scale, we carried out a controlled, prospective study combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, in a non-probabilistic, incidental sample. In a first step, we applied the Osgood semantic differential (1957) to explore the diverse attitudes towards life and death in 185 children in elementary school (M=10.54) and 309 adolescents (M=13.48). The results from this preliminary study were used to design a first prototype of the Suicidal Potential Scale for Adolescents. The second step consisted in the qualitative evaluation of the items, their validation by a panel of experts and a pilot study with a sample of 30 youth (M=12.3). Finally we applied the scale in a validation study with the participation of 863 adolescents (M=12.72). The scale contains 12 items (a = .723), divided into two factors, Despair (a =.610) & Affectivity (a =.793). Regarding the scale, despair is understood as dejection and an accompanying negative vision of life; while affectivity is linked with sentiments of sadness, loss of interest, and behavioral instability. Related scientific literature has signaled both of these focal points as risk factors correlating with suicidal behavior (Egea, 2011; Goldsmith, Pellmar, Kleinman & Bunney, 2002). For these reasons, we anticipate being able to detect suicidal potential among Mexican youth with this scale, and in this way to decrease suicidal attempts and prevent consummate suicides in the childhood and adolescent population.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2018
Event5th World Congress of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry: Achieving Global Mental Health: Making Cultural Psychiatry Count - Columbia University, Morningside Campus, New York City, United States
Duration: 10 Oct 201813 Oct 2018


Other5th World Congress of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry
Abbreviated titleWACP 2018
CountryUnited States
CityNew York City
Internet address


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