Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 7 (1), e14623

E-Learning to Improve Suicide Prevention Practice Skills Among Undergraduate Psychology Students: Randomized Controlled Trial

Affiliations

E-Learning to Improve Suicide Prevention Practice Skills Among Undergraduate Psychology Students: Randomized Controlled Trial

Marie-Louise J Kullberg et al. JMIR Ment Health.

Abstract

Background: Despite increasing evidence of the effectiveness of digital learning solutions in higher vocational education, including the training of allied health professionals, the impact of Web-based training on the development of practical skills in psychiatry and psychology, in general, and in suicide prevention, specifically, remains largely understudied.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of an electronic learning (e-learning) module on the adherence to suicide prevention guidelines, knowledge of practical skills, and provider's confidence to have a conversation about suicidal behavior with undergraduate psychology students.

Methods: The e-learning module, comprising video recordings of therapist-patient interactions, was designed with the aim of transferring knowledge about suicide prevention guideline recommendations. The program's effects on guideline adherence, self-evaluated knowledge, and provider's confidence were assessed using online questionnaires before the program (baseline and at 1 month [T1] and 3 months after baseline). The eligible third- and fourth-year undergraduate psychology students were randomly allocated to the e-learning (n=211) or to a waitlist control condition (n=187), with access to the intervention after T1.

Results: Overall, the students evaluated e-learning in a fairly positive manner. The intention-to-treat analysis showed that the students in the intervention condition (n=211) reported higher levels of self-evaluated knowledge, provider's confidence, and guideline adherence than those in the waitlist control condition (n=187) after receiving the e-learning module (all P values<.001). When comparing the scores at the 1- and 3-month follow-up, after both groups had received access to the e-learning module, the completers-only analysis showed that the levels of knowledge, guideline adherence, and confidence remained constant (all P values>.05) within the intervention group, whereas a significant improvement was observed in the waitlist control group (all P values<.05).

Conclusions: An e-learning intervention on suicide prevention could be an effective first step toward improved knowledge of clinical skills. The learning outcomes of a stand-alone module were found to be similar to those of a training that combined e-learning with a face-to-face training, with the advantages of flexibility and low costs.

Keywords: digital learning; e-learning; randomized controlled trial; skills training; suicide prevention; undergraduate students.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow of students through the trial. T0: baseline; T1: 1 month after baseline; T2: 3 months after baseline.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

References

    1. de Beurs DP, Hooiveld M, Kerkhof AJ, Korevaar JC, Donker GA. Trends in suicidal behaviour in Dutch general practice 1983-2013: a retrospective observational study. BMJ Open. 2016 May 10;6(5):e010868. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010868. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. StatLine - CBS. [2018-11-16]. The deceased; suicide (residents), various characteristics. https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/7022gza/table?ts=1542371154616 .
    1. Hjelmeland H, Knizek BL. The general public's views on suicide and suicide prevention, and their perception of participating in a study on attitudes towards suicide. Arch Suicide Res. 2004;8(4):345–59. doi: 10.1080/13811110490476725. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Biddle L, Cooper J, Owen-Smith A, Klineberg E, Bennewith O, Hawton K, Kapur N, Donovan J, Gunnell D. Qualitative interviewing with vulnerable populations: individuals' experiences of participating in suicide and self-harm based research. J Affect Disord. 2013 Mar 5;145(3):356–62. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.08.024. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Dazzi T, Gribble R, Wessely S, Fear NT. Does asking about suicide and related behaviours induce suicidal ideation? What is the evidence? Psychol Med. 2014 Dec;44(16):3361–3. doi: 10.1017/S0033291714001299. - DOI - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback