Comparing three psychoeducational interventions to reduce negative thoughts and suicidal ideations

Steven Everett O'Neal


The purpose of this study was to conduct an empirical investigation of three psychoeducational interventions designed to reduce negative thoughts and suicidal ideations, when compared to a no-treatment control group. The study modified Cognitive, Rational-Emotive, and Voice therapy techniques into one-hour psychoeducational interventions, and compared them to a no-treatment Control group that read factual information about suicide. The study hypothesized that these psychoeducational interventions would significantly reduce negative thoughts and suicidal ideations, compared to Control, on several dependent measures, including the Adult Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (ASIQ), Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ), Belief Scale (BS), and the Firestone Voice Scale of Self-Destructive Behaviors-Extreme Self-Hatred Factor (FV-ESH). Additionally, the study hypothesized that these reductions, if found, would remain stable upon one-week follow-up. It was also hypothesized that specific reductions would occur, compared to the other therapies, in the dependent measures that were associated with the intervention's theoretical approach. Included in the analysis were 116 undergraduate college students. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed no significance differences among the three experimental groups and control group, either at post-intervention or at one-week follow-up. Post hoc MANOVA indicated a significant reduction for all groups across time, from initial intervention to one-week follow-up, Pillais =.18, F (9,104) = 2.47, p =.013. Follow-up univariates were significant for three dependent variables: the ASIQ Ideation factor, F (1,112) = 5.40, p =.022; the ATQ Personal Maladjustment and Desire for Change factor, F (1,112) = 7.90, p =.006; and the Belief Scale, F (1,112) = 4.94, p =.028. Compared to post-intervention, regardless of intervention, students expressed at follow-up less suicidal ideations, fewer perceptions related to personal maladjustment and desire for change, and less irrational beliefs. Suggestions for future designs utilizing brief psychoeducational interventions include investigating the effects of additional treatment sessions, more prolonged treatment protocols, increased sensitivity of dependent measures used to assess treatment outcome, longer follow-up intervals, and the utilization of clinical populations.