Screening tools, psychometric testing and psychological protocols
The administration of a psychological screening tool, psychometric test or inventory should only be undertaken by professionals who have been trained in the administration and interpretation of such tools. There are significant risks and pitfalls in clinicians relying solely on a psychometric measure to determine suicide risk severity. Please see our articles and references/resources.
SRAA do not endorse tools that stratify risk into “low, medium, high” (or similar) to determine whether someone receives service/intervention. Inclusion of links to these tools are included herein, to facilitate clinicians reflection and engagement with the evidence (including what is delivered in our training programs) or can be found through an astute review of the research.
In addition, some screening tools and interventions are licenced and/or regulated by the authors/developers. While you may find this inconvenient, it has been our experience that regulation (and the required training) ensures understanding of and the appropriate administration of the tool. Some screening and assessment tools (for example the C-SSRS) also require training for administration. We strongly recommend that any person enquiring about suicidality from a professional perspective, invest in training (and licensing) as relevant.
Finally, responses, results and outcomes of psychometric tests should not be interpreted in isolation.
Suicide risk screening tool
- Screening Tool for Assessing Risk of Suicide (STARS Protocol) – Jacinta Hawgood & Diego De Leo (2018)
This is a licenced product, requiring training for administration – contact AISRAP for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Suicide Assessment Screener – National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and University of NSW (2015)
- Suicide Questions Answers and Resources – Relationships Australia SA, SA Government, General Practice SA (2013)
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) – Adult Screening version
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) – Full Version Lifetime Recent (C-SSRS) – Full Version
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) – Lifetime-Recent Screen with risk levels
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) – Very Young Children or People with Cognitive Impairment
- Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale – Pediatric (Since Last Contact) version
Additional suicide risk assessment tools/resources
Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (David Jobes)
An approach extending beyond the screening of risk to include ongoing assessment and management of suicidality.
See published book; Jobes, D (2006) Managing Suicidal Risk; A Collaborative Approach. Guildford Press: New York.
Also; Jobes, D (2009) The CAMS Approach to Suicide Risk: Philosophy and Clinical Procedures
Suicidal Affect Behaviour Cognition Scale (SABCs)
A straight forward and easily administered measure, with validity and reliabiltiy surpassing other similar measures. SRAA have found that with the simplicity of this measure, the language is extremely direct and the last question in particular, is not always well received by clients, finding that they “can’t answer” it.
Harris, K., Syu., J., Lello, O., Chew, Y., Willcox, C. & Ho, R. (2015). The ABCs of Suicide Risk Assessment: Applying a Tripartite Approach to Individual Evaluations, PLoS One, 10(6): e0127442. doi:101371/journal.pone.0127442. eCollection 2015
All suicide specific psychometric measures rely on the client providing an honest and genuine response style. Concealment of risk can remain a concern, emphasising the importance of a skilled and qualified practitioner undertaking a comprehensive clinical assessment, of which psychometrics are but one aspect.