BACKGROUND: Assessment and screening are often the first step in planning interventions to help adolescents at risk of suicide. Causes of suicidal thoughts and behavior are multifaceted and it is important for clinical work that assessment reflects this complexity.
AIMS: To investigate whether a general psychological Resilience Scale for Adolescents (READ) is associated with a validated suicide rating scale (C-SSRS).
METHOD: An observational study of self-reported suicidality (C-SSRS), psychological distress (K10), and resiliency (READ) in three adolescent samples: suicide clinic (N = 147); general psychiatric clinic (N = 85); and a nonclinical sample (N = 92).
RESULTS: Resiliency scores were significantly higher (p < .05) in the nonclinical compared with the clinic samples on all READ scales. READ scores were similar in the two clinic samples apart from the family cohesion subscale, which was significantly lower in the suicide clinic sample. READ was predictive of levels of suicidality within all samples independently of general psychological distress (K10).
LIMITATIONS: The study did not examine other early childhood factors that may contribute to individual resiliency or suicidality.
CONCLUSION: READ provides a reliable and valid assessment of individual resilience for both clinical and nonclinical settings. Evaluation of protective resources is a useful adjunct to the assessment and treatment of suicidal behavior.