Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the validity and the utility of the Japanese version of the WHO-Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5-J) in the context of detecting suicidal ideation in elderly community residents.
Methods: A sample of 696 subjects aged 70 years or over who completed a set of questionnaires was examined.
Results: Cronbach's α was 0.87 and Loevinger's coefficient was 0.64. The total score was significantly correlated with the number of cohabitants, the number of physical illnesses, physical functioning, instrumental activities of daily living, and depressive symptoms. Subjects with suicidal ideation had significantly lower scores on the WHO-5-J. The receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis indicated that the scale significantly discriminated the subjects with suicidal ideation. When combined with the assessment of a lack of perceived social support (PSS), a standard cut-off criterion of “a total score ≤ 12 or answering 0 or 1 to any of the five items” more appropriately identified elderly subjects with suicidal ideation: sensitivity = 87%, specificity = 75%, negative predictive value = 99%, and positive predictive value = 10%.
Conclusions: In combination with PSS, the scale has predictive utility to detect suicidal ideation in elderly community residents.