Kognito’s avatar-based suicide prevention training for college students: Results of a randomized controlled trial and a naturalistic evaluation
Coleman, D., Black, N., Ng, J., & Blumenthal, E.
To evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of Kognito At Risk for College Students, an online, interactive suicide prevention gatekeeper training.
In Study 1, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to test the efficacy of Kognito. Retention of participants at follow‐up was strong. In Study 2, administrative records were used to follow the help‐seeking behavior of Kognito trainees for one academic year, contrasted with untrained students.
In Study 1, between‐group changes in gatekeeper attitudes were large at time‐two, but attenuated modestly by 2‐month follow‐up. Kognito trainees referred more peers at 2‐month follow‐up (Cohen’s d = .56, p < .05) ‐ training 4 students in Kognito produces 1 more peer referred. In Study 2, the help‐seeking rate of Kognito trainees (14.4%) was two‐times the rate (6.8%) of untrained students (p < .001). Training 14 students in Kognito leads to 1 more self‐referral to the Counseling Center.
This first randomized controlled trial of the college student version of Kognito validates the findings of less rigorous studies. Few brief suicide prevention trainings have shown changes in trainee behaviors such as referrals of at‐risk peers and trainees actual help‐seeking behavior. These results are promising that Kognito may outperform other similar suicide prevention trainings.