Validation of the Suicidal Behavior Exposure Scale in First Responders

Academic Article


  • Background: First responders (e.g., emergency medical technicians, firefighters) may be at higher suicide risk than the general population due to frequent exposure to suicidal behaviors of others. Aims: We aimed to confirm the factor structure, scale reliability, and convergent validity of anew measure of suicidal exposure, the Suicidal Behaviors Exposure Scale, in first responders. Method: Using a cross-sectional web-based survey, we recruited 862 participants (81.3% male, mean age = 40.23, SD = 11.88) from a national database and southeastern state-based organization of first responders. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis resulted in a generally poor fit for the three-factorstructure (exposure to suicidal communication, indirect exposure to suicide attempts/deaths, directexposure to suicide attempts/deaths). However, good scale reliability and convergent validity were demonstrated. Limitations: The cross-sectional design, a convenience sample, and the low percentageof women comprise the limitations of this study. Conclusion: The Suicidal Behavior Exposure Scale requires additional development and validation before use in a first-responder sample. Future work should also examine other aspects of reliability and validity, namely, measurement invariance acrossgroups and time.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wolford-Clevenger C; Smith PN; Kuhlman S; Morgan R; Stefurak T
  • Start Page

  • 453
  • End Page

  • 458
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 6