Attitudes towards suicide prevention and the impact of training

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


    BACKGROUND: Suicide is a leading cause of premature death, especially when considered in terms of potential years of life lost. Consequently, national suicide prevention strategies have been produced that incorporate training, such as STORM (Skills-based Training On Risk Management), to develop the skills and attitudes of healthcare professionals. Previous research has assessed healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards self-harm and suicide per se more so than suicide prevention, but negative attitudes have been associated with suboptimal standards of care and attitudinal differences have been found between professional groups. These professional differences may have implications for training, but findings are inconsistent and may be better explained by other variables such as previous training. METHOD: This study involved a secondary analysis of data collected from 11 centres across the United Kingdom and Ireland during the evaluation of STORM, where participants completed the Attitudes to Suicide Prevention (ASP) scale pre and immediately post training. Datasets were combined and analysed using regression modelling to assess attitudinal differences between professions and the impact of training. The associations between attitude and gender, age, years experience in profession and previous training were also assessed and examined for confounding of the attitude-profession relationship. RESULTS: Pre training, significant attitudinal differences were found between the 10 professional groups. These persisted but were reduced post training. The most positive professions initially showed the least change, and the least positive were among those to show the most change. Student Nurses changed the most, becoming the group with the most positive attitudes post training. Attitudes towards suicide prevention improved significantly from pre to post training, both overall and for each profession except Psychiatrists. All sub-groups of the additional explanatory variables assessed also showed significant attitudinal improvements, but differences were found between the sub-groups of the other variables. These sub-group differences did not explain the overall variation seen between professional groups, although a small degree of confounding was indicated. CONCLUSION: Differences exist between healthcare professionals in terms of their attitudes towards suicide prevention. All professions show improvements from pre to post training, but by differing degrees, with STORM having the most impact on students, non-mental health workers, and those who had not received previous training. These findings have implications for suicide prevention training strategies and may influence prioritisation of groups for training.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationMaster of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    • Gask, Linda, Supervisor
    • Webb, Roger, Supervisor
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Suicide Prevention


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