Technology-Oriented Suicide Prevention Interventions for Adolescents and Adolescent Gatekeepers: A Qualitative Review
Youth suicide is increasing in the United States. To moderate youth suicide, it is important to implement effective prevention programs and target modifiable protective and risk factors through intervention. This review examined programs that are consistent with these goals, specifically, technology-oriented suicide prevention programs included in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and Best Practices Registry (BPR). Technology-oriented programs are highly accessible among adolescents, as well as adolescent gatekeepers. Gatekeepers were defined as adults in a community who frequently interact with youth in the community, and who may be trained to identify and refer at-risk youth (e.g., teachers, coaches, counselors, parents). To understand the impact of these interventions, program efficacy (i.e., outcomes), program reach (i.e., population-level impact, level of technology integration), location of supporting program evidence (i.e., medical literature, Google Scholar, national registries, program organizational website), and quality of supporting research evidence (i.e., study design, quality of research ratings) were explored. PubMed, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PASCAL, CINAHL, Scopus, Cochrane Library (n = 3,942); Google Scholar (n = 411); the NREPP (n = 127); the BPR (n = 114); and program organizational websites (n = 26) were searched. Published and unpublished studies (n = 35) were integrated. Review of technology-oriented interventions indicated that many have been found to improve secondary outcomes, suicide outcomes, and gatekeeper preparedness. Interventions also demonstrated potential for reach, as technology generally enhanced the spread of prevention content among adolescents and/or adolescent gatekeepers. However, the accessibility of evidence was often reduced through dispersion, as evidence was retained within multiple forums (i.e., medical literature, Google Scholar, national registries, program organizational websites). Finally, the quality of supporting research evidence was generally strong, although there was variability with regard to rigor in study design and inclusion of large samples. Additional research is important toward strengthening the evidence base, and additional evidence that is readily accessible may increase both reach and sustained use, to enhance overall impact.
KeywordsTechnology Adolescent Gatekeeper Suicide prevention Intervention
We would like to thank Lisa Kerr, Ph.D. for providing editorial feedback and APA formatting assistance.
Both authors were responsible for the conception and direction of the article. EK created the first draft of the article, and KJR provided substantive feedback on subsequent drafts. After several iterations where both authors contributed, both authors approved the final version of the article.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
There were no forms of financial support, funding, or involvement.
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