Validation of Fearlessness About Death Scale in Adolescents

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Abstract

Recent theories of suicide behavior have proposed a risk factor that differentiates suicide ideators from suicide attempters: Suicide capability. Fearlessness about death, one component of capability, has predicted thelikelihood of a future attempt in adult samples. Although there is preliminary evidence about its value in youth,the fearlessness about death scale (FAD) has not yet been validated in clinical adolescents. We sought toexamine the psychometric properties of this scale in adolescents at high risk for making a future suicide attempt.Youth who were evaluated for an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for suicidal adolescents (N = 496; M, SDfor age = 14.78, 1.59) reported lifetime history of suicide attempts and NSSI, suicide ideation, depressivesymptoms, and completed the FAD at entry and at discharge (n = 329). Confirmatory factor analysis showedstructural validity of the FADscale and its invariance across age, sex, and time. Independent t-tests indicated thatFAD scores distinguished between those with and without NSSI, as well as those with single versus multipleattempts.When depressionwas covaried in logistic regression analyses, FAD’s relationshipwith suicide attempthistory persisted, showing the construct’s divergence from depression. Our findings present psychometricvalidity in adolescents for a widely used scale developed for adults. This validation offers confidence that thispromising risk factor can be adequately investigated in adolescents. If future studies can confirm its predictivevalidity, the brevity of this scale would make it a practical addition to a clinical assessment

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1252
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Assessment
Volume33
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Capability
  • Fearlessness about death
  • Risk factors
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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