Year: 2021 Source: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. (2020). Apr 2;1-17. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2020.1741377. SIEC No: 20210608

Objective: The study purpose was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of intensive ecological momentary assessment (EMA) among high-risk adolescents with suicidal thoughts and behaviors following discharge from acute psychiatric care.

Method: Fifty-three adolescents, 12-18 years old, and their parents, were recruited following discharge from acute psychiatric care for suicide risk. The study included a baseline assessment (adolescent and parent), 28 days of EMA surveys (5x per day) and wrist actigraphy (adolescent), and an interview at the end of the 28-day monitoring period (adolescent). Adolescents’ outpatient clinicians were also surveyed about the study.Results: Study feasibility was indicated by a reasonable enrollment rate, high adherence to wearing the actigraphy device, and good adherence to EMA surveys (highest in the first week with significant drop-off in subsequent weeks). Adolescents reported their overall experience in the study was positive, the questions were understandable, their responses to questions were generally accurate, and the surveys were minimally burdensome. The study procedures did not appear to be iatrogenic; suicide attempts and rehospitalizations were not study related and occurred at a rate comparable to other adolescents at the recruitment site. Adolescents’ clinicians reported that the study was somewhat positive and minimally burdensome for them, and somewhat positive for their patients and families.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that intensive EMA designs are feasible and acceptable among high-risk suicidal youth following acute psychiatric care. Specific procedures are provided for keeping adolescents safe during intensive EMA studies, including detailed information about the risk and safety monitoring plan.