There is a lack of accurate screening tools for suicide risk in the patients presenting to emergency departments. The Personality and Life Event (PLE) Scale, a set of the 27 most discriminative items from a collection of questionnaires usually employed in the assessment of suicidal behavior, demostrated an elevated accuracy, sensibility, and specificity in classifying suicide attempters.
To validate the self-administered PLE Scale.
In order to examine its psychometric properties, the PLE scale was administered to 59 suicide attempters, 48 psychiatric controls, and 69 medical patients attending the Puerta de Hierro emergency department. To examine its reliability, we used: 1) Cronbach's coefficient α to evaluate the internal consistency; 2) test-retest reliability to assess if the scale is stable over time. Interrater reliability is not relevant as the PLE is a self-report. To assess its construct validity, we used some of Beck's Suicide Intent Scale (SIS). All analyses were carried out using SPSS v.20 (Macintosh).
The most frequent criteria for suicide attempters were item 4 (‘I often feel empty inside’; 88.1%) and 20 (‘I act on impulse’; 79,7%). Mean (± SD) of the PLE Scale in suicide attempters, psychiatric controls, and medical controls was 74.49 (± 32.44), 57.19 (± 29.63), and 17.48 (± 21.15), respectively. The PLE had an acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha =0,674).
Our preliminary findings support the reliability, construct validity, and ussefulness of the PLE to identify suicide attempters to those attending to emergency departments.