"R U OK" Promoting Student Health Through an Effective Gatekeeper Training Program

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 2:30 PM

Lavonne M. Adams, PhD, RN, CCRN
Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Trung Nguyen, MA
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Karen Bell Morgan, PhD, MPH
Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems/School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA


The purpose of the study is to determine if QPR gatekeeper training for new First Year Experience (FYE) student leaders can improve their self-reported knowledge, competency, and self-efficacy about intervening with suicidal individuals.


In March 2016, an IRB-approved research study was undertaken to gather follow up assessment data related to QPR and participants’ knowledge, competency, and self-efficacy toward suicide prevention. All new FYE student leaders (n=266) who completed gatekeeper training in 2016 were invited to participate in the study consisting of a pre-training survey (March 2016), an immediate post-training survey (March 2016), and a follow up post-training survey given at six-month (September 2016) and nine-month (November 2016) intervals. All surveys were accessed through a link to an online survey via Qualtrics. The QPR FYE Pre-training Survey and QPR FYE Post-training Surveys were adapted with permission from similar gatekeeper evaluation studies frequently cited in the literature (Tompkins & Witt, 2010; Wyman et al., 2008). Data files were merged to allow analysis with descriptive and inferential statistics (Friedman test) through the use of SPSS.


Of the 266 First Year Experience (FYE) student leaders receiving QPR training prior to Summer 2016, 182 (68.4%) completed the pre-training survey, 150 (56.4%) completed the immediate post-training survey, 85 (32%) completed the six-month follow up survey, and 48 (18%) completed the nine-month follow up survey.

Improvements in mean aggregate scores of statements related to knowledge, competency, and self-efficacy toward suicide prevention occurred following QPR training. The greatest improvement occurred between the pre-training survey and the immediate post-training survey, with exception of “persuade” and “how to get help,” which had highest mean aggregate scores at six months. Mean aggregate scores declined from the immediate post-training survey to the six-month and nine-month follow up surveys, although responses never returned to pre-training survey levels, and few responses to the follow up surveys suggested that participants strongly disagreed or disagreed that they had knowledge, competency, or self-efficacy to intervene with a suicidal person.

Repeated measures analysis using the Friedman test was performed for three data collection points (pre-training, immediate post-training, and six-month follow up; n=41) and for four data collection points (pre-training, immediate post-training, six-month follow up and nine-month follow up; n=15). The Friedman test showed statistically significant differences in ranking of item scores for all statements except “I don’t feel competent to help a person at risk of suicide.” (Friedman’s Q = 3.99, p = .263).


Our findings suggest that QPR gatekeeper training produces improvements in knowledge, competency, and self-efficacy toward suicide prevention, which support continued use of QPR training for FYE student leaders. These improvements decayed over time, however, which suggested the need for refresher training to help sustain benefits of the training. Only new FYE student leaders were required to complete suicide prevention gatekeeper training. Returning FYE student leaders were neither required nor provided with the option to complete suicide prevention gatekeeper training. Based on our findings, FYE decided to implement refresher training for returning FYE student leaders.

FYE has viewed QPR training for its student leaders as means of enhancing campus-wide student wellness initiatives, and our study findings provided support for its importance. The data are being used to guide our institution in determining training priorities, training offerings, and staffing needs. Implementation of refresher training is an outgrowth of this study’s findings, and additional studies are currently underway to determine effectiveness of the refresher training.