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

Magness, C. S., Stern, K., Burnside, A., Masterson, D., Finkelstein, S., Kramer, A., Smith, P. K., & Foster, C. J. E.


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: ASIST; Gatekeeper training; Health behavior change; Suicide prevention.