A randomized control trial to test dissemination of an online suicide prevention training for intimate partner violence hotline workers
Cerulli, C., Missell-Gray, R., Harrington, D., Thurston, S.W., Quinlan, K., Jones, K.R., & Cross, W.F.
Purpose Suicide risk is higher among violence-involved individuals. Intimate Partner Violence hotline workers are a critical source of support and can potentially be suicide prevention champions. Our primary goal was to examine the effectiveness of disseminating a free, online IPV—Suicide Prevention curriculum, via a randomized control trial, to hotline workers in ten states with the highest suicide and IPV homicide rates. Method We divided the country into five regions and, based on criterion, chose two states in each region to randomize into the two arms of the study. We examined training participation and engagement between the two approaches: (1) ‘dissemination as usual’ (control) using a National Domestic Violence Hotline email and a postcard to state/county IPV directors, versus (2) ‘enhanced dissemination’ (intervention) using a four-point touch method (postcard, phone call, email, and letter) to ‘drive’ participation. Results Participation increased in the intervention arm as approaches became more personal (i.e., email and phone calls vs. letters). Results indicate that traditional dissemination strategies such as email announcements and invitations are not as effective as varied and multiple touchpoints for IPV hotline staff. Conclusion Successful dissemination strategies to promote digital training should consider the value added by personalized connection. Future research is needed to understand how to offer effective and efficient web-based training to those providing IPV and child abuse services.