A prospective study of 1,958 outpatients found that hopelessness, as
measured by the Beck Hopelessness Scale, was significantly related to
eventual suicide. A scale cutoff score of 9 or above identified 16 (94.2%)
of the 17 patients who eventually committed suicide, thus replicating a
previous study with hospitalized patients. The high-risk group identified
by this cutoff score was 11 times more likely to commit suicide than the
rest of the outpatients. The Beck Hopelessness Scale thus may be used as a
sensitive indicator of suicide potential.