Changes in Gatekeeper Beliefs Following ASIST and Relation to Subsequent Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Behaviors

Magness CS, Stern K, Burnside A, Masterson D, Finkelstein S, Kramer A, Smith PK, Foster CJE.

This study examines relations between suicide prevention gatekeeper beliefs and actual helping behaviors following participation in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Participants (n = 434) completed measures examining suicide-related beliefs and behaviors using a naturalistic pre-post design. All beliefs demonstrated significant change from pre- to posttest. Regression analyses indicate that beliefs about perceived barriers to action and the controllability of suicide predicted identification of high-risk youth; perceived barriers to action were also negatively related to helping responses and referrals 6–9 months post training. Self-efficacy was not related to suicide prevention behaviors at follow-up. The importance of anchoring training curriculums and measurement to health behavior change theories is discussed.

Keywords: Gatekeeper training, Health behavior change, ASIST, Suicide prevention