Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen A. Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Glena Andrews, Ph.D.


The critical need for more sensitive suicide screening is highlighted by the fact that 75% of individuals who complete suicide has seen a health care provider within the previous 3 months (Graves et al., 2018). Additionally, health care providers play a crucial role in identifying patients who are at risk, but they often are not adequately trained. The current research project investigated the effectiveness of a risk assessment training to increase doctoral students’ general and applied knowledge in suicide risk assessment. The training was completed by a cohort of 23 first year doctoral students in the Graduate Psychology of Clinical Psychology at George Fox University. The participants were divided into three equal groups; Group A, Group B and Group C. Group A received the primary intervention training as well as four enhanced training interventions or “booster” session trainings. Group B only received the primary intervention training, and Group C did not receive any additional training. The three levels of participants completed a pre-test prior to and post-test to assess participants’ knowledge immediately following the training session to assess the relative effectiveness of the primary training, primary plus booster sessions, versus course content. None of the three groups showed an increase in their general knowledge over time, rather, the group means showed a decrease in general knowledge over the course of the intervention. However, change scores indicated that Group A, who received the most extensive training, increased in their skills in the application of knowledge over time in comparison to the two other groups. Results suggest that informational training and continuous applied training together may enhance clinical trainees’ competency in suicide risk assessment.

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