, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 822-830
Date: 12 Jun 2013

Proposal for a Short Version of the Beck Hopelessness Scale Based on a National Representative Survey in Hungary

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In our study we assessed the frequency of reported hopelessness and suicide attempts in the national representative survey Hungarostudy 2002. The randomly selected sample consisted of 14,000 individuals over the age of 18. We created a short version of the widely used Beck Hopelessness Scale for screening purposes in suicide prevention. The short version of the BHS consists of four items and has high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.85). Moreover, we conducted an investigation into psychological, somatic, sociological and socio-economic as well as cultural variables that show a positive or negative correlation with hopelessness and important predictors of suicide. The following psychological variables showing a positive correlation with hopelessness were identified: dysfunctional attitudes, exhaustion, psychological distress, hostility, lack of life goals and inability to cope emotionally. Sense of coherence, social support, perceived self-efficiency, subjective well-being and problem-solving coping showed a negative correlation with hopelessness. Concerning the relationship between hopelessness and suicide attempts, we found that participants who attempted suicide in the last year scored higher (mean = 4.86) than participants who attempted suicide more than 3 years ago (mean = 3.57). These results indicate that applying the short version of the BHS could be very useful in general practice and in psychiatric care.