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Cut-off Values of Five-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale in Evaluating Suicidality among Military Recruits

Chin-Chao Ma, Yueh-Ming Tai

Objectives: Suicide is a big worldwide problem and also a national public health issue. How to screen high-risk soldiers is essential at an early stage of mili-tary service. The objectives of this study were to assess prevalences, to investigate the associated rôle in five-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale (BSRS-5), and to determine the cut-off scores of BSRS-5 in each type of suicidality in new military recruits. Methods: We recruited 1,222 soldiers who completed all copies of ques-tionnaire from a military base in northern Taiwan. The subjects completed the copies of questionnaire of BSRS-5 and Adult Self-Report Scale Inventory-4 (the ASRI), and a copy of questionnaire of the optional Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS) was also completed for those who had ever had suicidality. Results: This study revealed high prevalences of suicidal ideation (SI), suicidal attempt (SA), and deliberate self-harm (DSH) of military recruits. While using BSRS-5 as a screening instrument for SI, DSH, and SA, the suggested cut-offs were 7, 8, and 8, respectively and had almost the same magnitudes of area under curves compared with the general cut-offs. In addition, better specificity for military recruits was noted and associated factors for each kind of suicidality were almost similar. Conclusion: The study results suggest that BSRS-5 can be efficiently used to distin-guish suicidality from the military recruits and better specificity of new cut-offs. This easily administered tool can help screen high risk suicidal military recruits for suicide prevention.
Key Word receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempt, deliberate self-harm
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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