Measuring trainer fidelity in the transfer of suicide prevention training
Cross, W.F., Pisani, A.R., Schmeelk-Cone, K., Xia, Y., Tu, X., McMahon, M., ... Gould, M.S.
Background: Finding effective and efficient models to train large numbers of suicide prevention interventionists, including 'hotline' crisis counselors, is a high priority. Train-the-trainer (TTT) models are widely used but understudied. Aims: To assess the extent to which trainers following TTT delivered the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program with fidelity, and to examine fidelity across two trainings and seven training segments. Method: We recorded and reliably rated trainer fidelity, defined as adherence to program content and competence of program delivery, for 34 newly trained ASIST trainers delivering the program to crisis center staff on two separate occasions. A total of 324 observations were coded. Trainer demographics were also collected. Results: On average, trainers delivered two-thirds of the program. Previous training was associated with lower levels of trainer adherence to the program. In all, 18% of trainers' observations were rated as solidly competent. Trainers did not improve fidelity from their first to second training. Significantly higher fidelity was found for lectures and lower fidelity was found for interactive training activities including asking about suicide and creating a safe plan. Conclusions: We found wide variability in trainer fidelity to the ASIST program following TTT and few trainers had high levels of both adherence and competence. More research is needed to examine the cost-effectiveness of TTT models.