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Karolinska Interpersonal Violence Scale Predicts Suicide in Suicide Attempters

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(8):1025-1032
10.4088/JCP.09m05944blu

Background: Both childhood trauma and violent behavior are important risk factors for suicidal behavior. The aim of the present study was to construct and validate a clinical rating scale that could measure both the exposure to and the expression of violence in childhood and during adult life and to study the ability of the Karolinska Interpersonal Violence Scale (KIVS) to predict ultimate suicide in suicide attempters.

Method: A total of 161 suicide attempters and 95 healthy volunteers were assessed with the KIVS measuring exposure to violence and expressed violent behavior in childhood (between 6–14 years of age) and during adult life (15 years or older). The Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI), “Urge to act out hostility” subscale from the Hostility and Direction of Hostility Questionnaire (HDHQ), and the Early Experience Questionnaire (EEQ) were used for validation. All patients were followed up for cause of death and a minimum of 4 years from entering in the study.

Results: Five patients who committed suicide within 4 years had significantly higher scores in exposure to violence as a child, in expressed violent behavior as an adult, and in KIVS total score compared to survivors. Suicide attempters scored significantly higher compared to healthy volunteers in 3 of the 4 KIVS subscales. There were significant correlations between the subscales measuring exposure to and expression of violent behavior during the life cycle. BDHI, Urge to act out hostility, and EEQ validated the KIVS.

Conclusions: Exposure to violence in childhood and violent behavior in adulthood are risk factors for completed suicide in suicide attempters. Behavioral dysregulation of aggression is important to assess in clinical work. The KIVS is a valuable new tool for case detection and long-term clinical suicide prevention.

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(8):1025–1032

Submitted: December 28, 2009; accepted March 16, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05944blu).

Corresponding author: Jussi Jokinen, MD, PhD, Department of Clinical Neuroscience/Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden (jussi.jokinen@ki.se).