The validity of proxy-based data in suicide research: a study of patients 50 years of age and older who attempted suicide. II. Life events, social support and suicidal behavior
Article first published online: 4 MAR 2010
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 104, Issue 6, pages 452–457, December 2001
How to Cite
Conner, K. R., Conwell, Y. and Duberstein, P. R. (2001), The validity of proxy-based data in suicide research: a study of patients 50 years of age and older who attempted suicide. II. Life events, social support and suicidal behavior. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 104: 452–457. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00091.x
- Issue published online: 4 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 4 MAR 2010
- Accepted for publication June 7, 2001
Objective: To investigate the validity of proxy respondent reports of stressful life events, social support and suicidal behavior among individuals who attempted suicide.
Method: Subjects were 80 psychiatric in-patients admitted following a suicide attempt. Data based on structured interviews with proxy respondents were compared with data based on interviews with subjects (gold standard).
Results: Specificity was higher than sensitivity across life event categories, and agreement was substantial for public and observable events (e.g. parent's death) but lower for more ambiguous events. Proxies were good judges of subject reports of frequency of social interaction but not perceived emotional support. Proxies were good judges of past history of suicide attempts and level of suicidal intent.
Conclusion: Results support proxy-based data on suicidal behavior and certain aspects of social support and stressful life events in research of suicidal behavior in this age group, with potential implications for interpreting postmortem research of completed suicide.