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The Response Inventory for Stressful Life Events (RISLE) II: Validation of the 36-item Version

Emilio Ovuga
Jed Boardman
Danuta Wasserman


Background: A 36-item version of the Response Inventory for Stressful Life Events (RISLE) was derived from the longer 100item version. The 36-item version may be more appropriate for use in larger population sample.

Objective: To compare the responses of the 36-item RISLE to interview derived psychiatric diagnoses and suicidal ideation in a sub-sample of the general population and student samples reported in the accompanying paper.

Methods: Clinical interviews using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) were carried out on 67 members of the general population and 58 members of the student samples. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed for the RISLE responses using current depressive disorder, any current psychiatric disorder, and past month suicidality variables. Sensitivities, specificities, predictive values and likelihood ratios were determined based on various cut-off points based on ROC curves. Kappa statistic was determined to evaluate the level of agreement between the result of questionnaire surveys and research clinical interviews at different cut-off points on the RISLE.

Results: The probability of correct detection of current depression was 79%, any current psychiatric disorder 83% and past month suicidality 83%. The optimal cut-offs for the general population was 10 and for the students 6. High scores on the 36-item RISLE were associated with a past history of suicide attempt and recent and past suicide ideation.

Conclusion: The 36-item RISLE appears to have good concurrent validity and may be a reasonable screening instrument for psychological distress in the Ugandan population. The results suggest that the RISLE alone is capable of screening for both depressive mood and suicidal ideation effectively at different cut-off points. Thus the RISLE is capable of achieving what normally takes two scales such as the BDI and BSS to do separately. However, further validation work is required using larger population samples in clinical interviews in prospective studies.

African Health Sciences Vol.5(2) 2005: 145-151

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eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905