This study replicated and extended previous evaluations of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) prevention program in a high school population using a more rigorous pre-test post-test randomized control design than used in previous SOS evaluations in high schools (Aseltine and DeMartino 2004; Aseltine et al. 2007). SOS was presented to an ethnically diverse group of ninth grade students in technical high schools in Connecticut. After controlling for the pre-test reports of suicide behaviors, exposure to the SOS program was associated with significantly fewer self-reported suicide attempts in the 3 months following the program. Ninth grade students in the intervention group were approximately 64% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past 3 months compared with students in the control group. Similarly, exposure to the SOS program resulted in greater knowledge of depression and suicide and more favorable attitudes toward (1) intervening with friends who may be exhibiting signs of suicidal intent and (2) getting help for themselves if they were depressed or suicidal. In addition, high-risk SOS participants, defined as those with a lifetime history of suicide attempt, were significantly less likely to report planning a suicide in the 3 months following the program compared to lower-risk participants. Differential attrition is the most serious limitation of the study; participants in the intervention group who reported a suicide attempt in the previous 3 months at baseline were more likely to be missing at post-test than their counterparts in the control group.
Keywords: Adolescent; Evaluation; Prevention; Schools; Suicide.