Survey of Suicide Prevention for Resident Advisors at a State University: The Impact of Training on Knowledge, Attitudes, Perceived Competency, Perceived Role Responsibility, and Intervention Behavior Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Zatko, Paula
    • Affiliation: School of Education, School Psychology Graduate Program
  • Suicide is the tenth ranking cause of death in the United States (CDC, 2015); however, alarmingly, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the fifteen to twenty-four age group (CDC, 2015). Drum et al. (2009) surveyed undergraduate students (n = 15,010) from seventy U.S. colleges and universities. The researchers found that in one year, 6% of the students (n = 910) seriously considered suicide (Drum et al., 2009). There is a growing body of research on suicide prevention trainings for resident advisors (RA) on college campuses, but there is no standardized training curriculum and each university goes about training their RAs differently (Parries, 2014). This study used a quantitative design to explore the role of resident advisors as suicide prevention gatekeepers on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) campus. The study assessed RAs’ suicide-related knowledge, attitudes toward suicide and mental health treatment, perceived role responsibility in terms of suicide prevention, perceived competency to handle situations concerning suicide, and suicide-specific intervention behaviors. This information was gathered through three surveys: one before the summer UNC-CH RA training, one three days after the training, and one three months after the training. Results of the study showed that number of years served as RAs does not significantly influence their suicide prevention intervention behavior count. On the other hand, gender does significantly affect RAs’ attitude toward suicide prevention and mental health treatment. Results also showed that, over the course of the semester, RAs’ attitudes toward suicide, their suicide-related knowledge, how competent they feel responding to suicide-related situations, and their intervention behaviors increased. Both perceived competency and intervention behaviors increased significantly. A predictive analysis showed that knowledge, competency, attitude, and role responsibility predicted intervention behavior. Attitude best explained intervention behavior whereas, responsibility was least likely to explain it. Overall, the results of the study support the continued need for a suicide-prevention curriculum as a part of RA training.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Miller, Kylee
  • Knotek, Steven
  • Simeonsson, Rune
  • Benander, Mark
  • Evarrs, Sandra
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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