269089 Estimates of student risk for suicide among university faculty

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bridget Hanson, PhD , Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Jesse Metzger, PhD , Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Jodi Barnett, MA , Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Mark Johnson, PhD , Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Christiane Brems, PhD, ABPP, RYT , Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Suicide is a significant problem among college-aged adults across the country, and, to address this issue, suicide prevention activities have become common on college campuses. To investigate factors related to suicide prevention knowledge and behaviors among university faculty, the current study explored the relationship between faculty members' engagement in suicide prevention behaviors and their estimates of student suicide risk. Overall, faculty members at the University of Alaska Anchorage (N=295; 64.5% female) tended to overestimate students' risk for suicide, estimating that in the past year 12.8% of students had considered suicide and 4.0% had attempted suicide, compared to 5.5% and 0.7% of students actually considering and attempting suicide. Risk estimates differed by faculty gender and history of suicide prevention training, with a statistically significant interaction between the two variables. Female faculty who had received training in suicide prevention estimated significantly greater risk (estimating 22.1% of students considered suicide in past year and 7.6% attempted) than female faculty who had not received training (12.7% and 4.2%). The inverse was true for male faculty, with those who had attended training estimating significantly less risk than those who had not (estimates of suicide consideration: 7.3% vs. 10.1%; estimates of suicide attempt: 1.5% vs. 2.5%). Although causal direction cannot be determined, the relationship between training experience and risk estimate indicates potentially disparate understanding of suicide and inconsistent effects of training. Implications for suicide prevention training models are discussed with a focus on encouraging suicide prevention training and increasing knowledge of students' risk among faculty.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain differences in faculty membersí estimates of student suicide risk and discuss implications relevant to suicide prevention training models.

Keywords: Suicide, Committee of Affiliates

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant professor at the Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services where the data was collected and I collaborated with the co-authors on data analysis and abstract creation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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