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Associations Between the NIH Toolbox Adult Social Relationship Scales and Suicidal Ideation


Various measures of social support have been associated with suicidal ideation (SI). However, a brief, consistent, multidimensional approach to social support assessment has not been established. We assessed the NIH Toolbox Adult Social Relationship (ASR) scales and their associations with the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSI). Five ASR scales (emotional support, instrumental support, friendship, loneliness, perceived rejection) were used to predict BSI scores among psychiatric inpatients at baseline (N = 79) and at 3-months follow-up (N = 63). Mean BSI scores were 22.2 (SD 8.6) at baseline and 5.7 (SD 6.7) at follow-up. The ASR scales had high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.93–0.96). Emotional support was associated with SI at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Instrumental support, loneliness and perceived rejection were associated with SI at baseline. Friendship was not associated with SI at either time-point. The ASR scales appear promising in differentiating aspects of social support most relevant to SI.

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National Institute of Mental Health (R34MH103447).

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Correspondence to Casimir Klim.

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Both this study and the parent study were approved by the institutional review boards associated with the University of Michigan and the Henry Ford Health System’s Kingswood Hospital and were conducted in accordance with the guidelines of those bodies.

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This study involved a secondary analysis of data from a randomized control trial of a peer support intervention that involved human subjects.

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Klim, C., Ganoczy, D. & Pfeiffer, P.N. Associations Between the NIH Toolbox Adult Social Relationship Scales and Suicidal Ideation. Community Ment Health J 56, 186–192 (2020).

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  • Suicide
  • Social support
  • Peer support
  • Measurement