Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 60
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Ducher, J.-L. de Chazeron, I. and Llorca, P.-M. 2016. Suicide et évaluation. Revue des outils disponibles en français : approche non dimensionnelle et autoquestionnaires. L'Encéphale, Vol. 42, Issue. 3, p. 242.

    Heisel, Marnin J. Neufeld, Eva and Flett, Gordon L. 2016. Reasons for living, meaning in life, and suicide ideation: investigating the roles of key positive psychological factors in reducing suicide risk in community-residing older adults. Aging & Mental Health, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 195.

    Hussey, I. Barnes-Holmes, D. and Booth, R. 2016. Individuals with current suicidal ideation demonstrate implicit “fearlessness of death”. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, Vol. 51, p. 1.

    John Mann, J. Ellis, Steven P. Currier, Dianne Zelazny, Jamie Birmaher, Boris Oquendo, Maria A. Kolko, David J. Stanley, Barbara Melhem, Nadine Burke, Ainsley K. and Brent, David A. 2016. Self-Rated Depression Severity Relative to Clinician-Rated Depression Severity: Trait Stability and Potential Role in Familial Transmission of Suicidal Behavior. Archives of Suicide Research, Vol. 20, Issue. 3, p. 412.

    Li, Dongping Li, Xian Wang, Yanhui and Bao, Zhenzhou 2016. Parenting and Chinese Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts: The Mediating Role of Hopelessness. Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. 25, Issue. 5, p. 1397.

    Rees, Joanna and Langdon, Peter E. 2016. The Relationship Between Problem-Solving Ability and Self-Harm Amongst People with Mild Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 29, Issue. 4, p. 387.

    Stanley, Ian H. Hom, Melanie A. Rogers, Megan L. Hagan, Christopher R. and Joiner, Thomas E. 2016. Understanding suicide among older adults: a review of psychological and sociological theories of suicide. Aging & Mental Health, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 113.

    Steeg, Sarah Haigh, Matthew Webb, Roger T. Kapur, Nav Awenat, Yvonne Gooding, Patricia Pratt, Daniel and Cooper, Jayne 2016. The exacerbating influence of hopelessness on other known risk factors for repeat self-harm and suicide. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 190, p. 522.

    Yi, Sang-Wook 2016. Depressive Symptoms on the Geriatric Depression Scale and Suicide Deaths in Older Middle-aged Men: A Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Vol. 49, Issue. 3, p. 176.

    Aloba, Olutayo Akinsulore, Adesanmi Mapayi, Boladale Oloniniyi, Ibiduniyi Mosaku, Kolawole Alimi, Taiwo and Esan, Olufemi 2015. The Yoruba version of the Beck Hopelessness Scale: psychometric characteristics and correlates of hopelessness in a sample of Nigerian psychiatric outpatients. Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 56, p. 258.

    Bryan, Craig J. Ray-Sannerud, Bobbie and Heron, Elizabeth A. 2015. Psychological flexibility as a dimension of resilience for posttraumatic stress, depression, and risk for suicidal ideation among Air Force personnel. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, Vol. 4, Issue. 4, p. 263.

    Chang, Edward C. Lian, Xiang Yu, Tina Qu, Junjie Zhang, Bohan Jia, Wenwen Hu, Qin Li, Junze Wu, Jiaqing and Hirsch, Jameson K. 2015. Loneliness under assault: Understanding the impact of sexual assault on the relation between loneliness and suicidal risk in college students. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 72, p. 155.

    Hagan, Christopher R. Podlogar, Matthew C. Chu, Carol and Joiner, Thomas E. 2015. Testing the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: The Moderating Role of Hopelessness. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 99.

    Heller, Nina Rovinelli 2015. Risk, Hope and Recovery: Converging Paradigms for Mental Health Approaches with Suicidal Clients. British Journal of Social Work, Vol. 45, Issue. 6, p. 1788.

    Jones, Norman and Greenberg, N 2015. The use of Threshold Assessment Grid triage (TAG-triage) in mental health assessment. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Vol. 161, Issue. Suppl 1, p. i46.

    Lindgren, Maija Manninen, Marko Kalska, Hely Mustonen, Ulla Laajasalo, Taina Moilanen, Kari Huttunen, Matti O. Cannon, Tyrone D. Suvisaari, Jaana and Therman, Sebastian 2015. Suicidality, self-harm and psychotic-like symptoms in a general adolescent psychiatric sample. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, p. n/a.

    Yi, Sang-Wook and Hong, Jae-Seok 2015. Depressive symptoms and other risk factors predicting suicide in middle-aged men: a prospective cohort study among Korean Vietnam War veterans. PeerJ, Vol. 3, p. e1071.

    Zhang, Wen-Chao Jia, Cun-Xian Hu, Xia Qiu, Hui-Min and Liu, Xian-Chen 2015. Beck Hopelessness Scale: Psychometric Properties Among Rural Chinese Suicide Attempters and Non-Attempters. Death Studies, Vol. 39, Issue. 7, p. 442.

    Ahmedani, Brian K. and Vannoy, Steven 2014. National Pathways for Suicide Prevention and Health Services Research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 47, Issue. 3, p. S222.

    Chapman, Alexander L. Gratz, Kim L. and Turner, Brianna J. 2014. Risk-Related and Protective Correlates of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury and Co-Occurring Suicide Attempts among Incarcerated Women. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 44, Issue. 2, p. 139.


Can we predict suicide and non-fatal self-harm with the Beck Hopelessness Scale? A meta-analysis

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 04 January 2007

Background. Hopelessness is considered a pre-eminent risk factor for suicide and non-fatal self-harm. We aimed to quantify the ability of the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) to predict these two outcomes.

Method. Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Cinahl were searched to January 2006. We included cohort studies in which the BHS was applied and patients were followed-up to establish subsequent suicide or non-fatal self-harm. Four studies provided usable data on suicide, and six studies provided data on non-fatal self-harm. Summary sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) were calculated for each study. Random effects meta-analytic pooling across studies at the standard cut-off point ([ges ]9) was undertaken and summary receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves constructed.

Results. For suicide, pooled sensitivity was 0·80 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·68–0·90], pooled specificity was 0·42 (95% CI 0·41–0·44), and the pooled DOR was 3·39 (95% CI 1·29–8·88). For non-fatal self-harm, pooled sensitivity was 0·78 (95% CI 0·74–0·82), pooled specificity was 0·42 (95% CI 0·38–0·45), and the pooled DOR was 2·27 (95% CI 1·53–3·37).

Conclusion. The standard cut-off point on the BHS identifies a high-risk group for potential suicide, but the magnitude of the risk is lower than previously reported estimates. The standard cut-off point is also capable of identifying those who are at risk of future self-harm, but the low specificity rate means it is unlikely to be of use in targeting treatment designed to lower the rate of repetition.

Corresponding author
Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Leeds, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9LT, UK. (Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *