Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 335–344 | Cite as

The Structure of Suicidal Beliefs: A Bifactor Analysis of the Suicide Cognitions Scale

  • Craig J. BryanEmail author
  • Julia A. Harris
Original Article


The Suicide Cognitions Scale (SCS) was developed to measure a broad spectrum of suicidogenic cognitions collectively referred to as the suicidal belief system. Prior confirmatory factor analyses have suggested both a unidimensional and multidimensional structure and high intercorrelations among identified factors, suggesting the possible influence of an underlying general factor. The present study used bifactor analysis in a clinical sample of 97 treatment-seeking Army personnel with recent suicide ideation and a nonclinical sample of 193 military personnel and veterans with a lifetime history of suicide ideation or attempts. Results supported the strong influence of a general factor in addition to several specific factors that aligned with constructs articulated by several theories of suicide, and suggested the SCS is best interpreted as a unidimensional measure. Results suggest that narrower suicidogenic cognitions are influenced in large part by a strong general latent variable.


Suicide Suicidal belief system Suicide Cognitions Scale Military Assessment 



This study was supported in part by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs through the Defense Medical Research and Development Program under Award No. W81XWH-14-1-0272 (PI: Bryan) and the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), an effort supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs under Award No. W81XWH-10-2-0181 (PI: Bryan). Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, or the MSRC.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Bryan reports grant funding from the Department of Defense and Bob Woodruff Foundation, and consultation salary from Neurostat Analytical Solutions. Ms. Harris reports no financial conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for Veterans StudiesThe University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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