In post-mortem studies of suicide, informant sources are often relied upon to provide information to identify correlates of suicide and suicidal behavior. While previous research has shown that informants can supply reliable information about patients' recent stressful life events, it is unknown whether informants and patients provide concordant data about adverse early life experiences such as childhood sexual abuse. This study examined concordance between patient and informant reports of childhood sexual abuse in a sample of depressed patients 50 years and older. Patients and informants (n=88 pairs) independently responded to items from the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Informants' reports of patients' severe sexual abuse histories were in high agreement with patients' reports; concordance was significantly lower, however, for milder forms of sexual abuse. These findings demonstrate the feasibility and limitations of collecting sensitive information about patients' early life experiences in research designs utilizing informant report, including postmortem studies of suicide that use psychological autopsy methodology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Older adults
- Psychological autopsy methodology