Suicide Assessment among Older Persons---Instrument and Model Development

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


With the advance of medical technology, people’s life expectancy increases. As a result, the population ages. Since suicide is a severe problem in the later life, it becomes an important health care issue. Unfortunately, studies related to suicide among the elderly are rare in Taiwan. Because elders seldom express their suicidal thoughts and tend to use fatal methods to execute suicide, early detection of their suicidal ideation is extremely important. Currently, four major issues exist in suicide study among elders in Taiwan. First, it is necessary to explore the impacts of cultural differences on elderly suicidal ideation. If the differences exist, transferring suicide assessment tools and intervention programs from other societies may not be effective to prevent our elders from suicide. Second, there is a lack of a simple and easy-to-use suicidal ideation screening tool for non-psychiatric health care workers in clinical settings. Third, most available studies emphasized risk factors of suicide. Because some risk factors are non-modifiable, it is important to explore protective factors of suicide. Health care workers can then enhance the elders’ protective factors to prevent them from suicidal disturbance. Finally, no suicidal ideation model is available to guide suicide prevention for elderly. To fill these gaps in knowledge, we propose a three-year proposal to explore these issues among community dwelling elders. The purposes of the first year will be 1) to understand the experience of elderly who have suicidal ideation and 2) to understand the factors that protect these elderly from suicide. The purposes of the second year will be 1) to develop and validate a geriatric suicide ideation scale and to establish the cut-off point of the scale and 2) to develop and validate a geriatric suicide protective factor scale. The purposes of the third year will be 1) to explore the suicide protective factors among elderly in Taiwan and 2) to establish a predictive model on suicide ideation. Due to the lack of related suicide studies in Taiwanese community dwelling elders, results of this study can provide health care workers with information on suicide among elderly and raise their concern of the potential problems. Moreover, health care workers can use the developed and validated geriatric suicide ideation scale to screen elders and detect high risk elders in the early stage. They can also use the developed and validated geriatric suicide protective factor scale to understand and enhance elders’ protective factors in clinical settings. Finally, health care workers can use the established model of suicidal ideations to develop systematical suicide prevention programs to prevent suicide among the elderly and to minimize individual and social damages.

Project IDs

Project ID:PC10007-1157
External Project ID:NSC100-2314-B182-018
Effective start/end date01/08/1131/07/12


  • Suicide ideation
  • elderly
  • protective factor


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