Training and the assessment and management of suicidal patients

Karlotta Andrea Richards


To determine how training influences suicide assessment and management skills, participants at different levels of training were asked to read a hypothetical vignette and then complete a number of inventories. Participants were 35 non-psychology graduate students, 44 beginning psychology graduate students, 30 advanced psychology graduate students, and 30 applied psychologists. These participants read one of two hypothetical vignettes of a severely or mildly distressed person, then completed the Suicide Intervention Response Inventory-2 (SIRI-2), Scale For Suicide Ideation (SSI), and No-Suicide Agreement Scale (NSA). On SIRI-2, advanced psychology graduate students and psychologists scored higher than the beginning graduate students, who scored higher than the Non-psychology graduate students. Participants who received the vignette that profiled a severely distressed person evaluated the person as more suicidal on the SSI than those who were presented with the less distressed profile. However, there were no significant differences among the four training groups on the NSA. Findings suggest that training is associated with a person's ability to respond appropriately to crisis situations.