Comprehensive evaluation for suicide intervention training
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AbstractThe primary purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Suicide Prevention Training Program Foundation Workshop. The workshop is a two day interactive group program which provides training in suicide intervention for designated and non-designated caregivers who may come in contact with people at risk of suicidal behavior. To date, some 10,000 caregivers have taken the program in a wide variety of community and institutional settings. Due to a lack of evaluation models for suicide intervention training, the second purpose of this study was to develop a suitable set of procedures to evaluate such training. Evaluation questions were developed through consultation with key stakeholding audiences including the operating agency management, trainers, designers, and funders. Three approaches to the evaluation were used. These included (a) a program audit of training activities and evaluations to date; (b) studies of immediate training effects on attitudes, knowledge, and intervention abilities; and ( c) a long term impact evaluation. The program audit examined evaluation and workshop activity from the inception of the program. Data were collected from records of the Suicide Prevention Training Program agency and the Correctional Service of Canada. Immediate participant evaluations indicated that participants were very satisfied with the training as they rated it very highly, and perceived that they had gained in knowledge and suicide intervention abilities. A non-equivalent control group pretest-posttest design was used to investigate the effects of the workshop on attitudes and knowledge. In the attitudes study, 176 participants selected from 22 presentations of the workshop were compared with 22 nursing and educational psychology students who served as controls. Attitudes to suicide in general, as measured by Boldt and Arms' Semantic Differential On Suicide (SDS) showed significant change; however, this change could not be attributed to the workshop as significant change was also noted for the control group indicating that the SDS has a considerable test effect. The workshop was shown to have a significant effect on attitudes to suicide intervention as measured by the Suicide Intervention Questionnaire (SIQ), an instrument designed for use in this evaluation. In the knowledge study 154 participants selected from 20 presentations of the workshop were compared with 23 nursing and educational psychology students who served as controls. Significant increases in knowledge regarding demographic and clinical items about suicide, as measured by McIntosh's (1985) Information Questionnaire On Suicide (IQS), and knowledge regarding suicide intervention as measured by the Intervention Knowledge Test (IKT), an instrument designed for this study, were found. The study on suicide intervention abilities used an equivalent control group, posttest only, design to measure training effects on intervention abilities as measured by Neimeyer's (1981) Suicide Intervention Response Inventory (SIRI), and by performance in a simulated suicide intervention situation as scored by independent judges. Subjects consisted of 19 participants selected from five workshops in a prepost condition and 17 subjects selected from five workshops in a posttest only condition. No significant effects were noted on the SIR.I. An apparent ceiling effect occurred with this instrument. Results, however, showed significant increases in suicide intervention abilities as demonstrated by performance in simulated intervention situations. The simulation results indicated significant change toward a more focused intervention, specific to the issue of suicide, following participation in the workshop. Subjects in the long term impact evaluation consisted of 199 participants selected from 29 workshops held 5 to 10 months prior to the follow-up study. Two methods of investigation: a mail-out questionnaire (n = 159) and a direct interview (n = 40) were used. Results indicated that participants rated the workshop highly; that the workshop had positive effects on attitudes, knowledge, and intervention abilities; and that knowledge and skills had been applied in actual situations since the workshop. In terms of the evaluation methods, immediate participant reaction measures, the SIQ, the IQS, the IKT, performance in simulated suicide situations and long term follow-up by mail out questionnaire proved to be the most efficient and effective measures for evaluating the workshop.
Bibliography: p. 167-180.
CitationTierney, R. J. (1988). Comprehensive evaluation for suicide intervention training (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/13356
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