Volume 10 Supplement 1

7th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health

Open Access

A method for assessing implementation success of a peer-led suicide prevention program

  • Peter A Wyman1Email author,
  • Mariya Petrova1,
  • Karen Schmeelk-Cone1,
  • Nathaniel Kerr1,
  • Anthony Pisani1,
  • C Hendricks Brown2,
  • Lisa Saldana3,
  • Trevor Pickering4 and
  • Thomas Valente4
Implementation Science201510(Suppl 1):A42

https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-10-S1-A42

Published: 14 August 2015

Objective

To summarize a first stage of research on implementation of a peer leader suicide prevention program by testing the utility of a method for tracking and reporting each school's success in retaining and preparing Peer Leaders.

Background

Peer leader programs that prepare opinion leaders to spread healthy practices through their social networks reduce high-risk sex behaviors and show promise in preventing adolescent substance use and suicidal behavior. However, knowledge of implementation processes is very limited. To address this limitation, we drew on the Stages of Implementation Completion (SIC) framework to measure a key phase of peer leader implementation.

Methods

40 high schools were randomly assigned to either immediate Sources of Strength (n = 20) or waitlist (n = 20). The schools were underserved by mental health services and over-represented by youth at high risk for suicide (e.g., American Indians). In the 20 implementing schools, 656 students (18-71 per school) received Peer Leader (PL) training. Adult mentors facilitated PL meetings to reinforce program concepts and help PLs plan and execute activities to spread healthy coping practices. Using a framework derived from the Stages of Implementation Completion (SIC), school reports of PL meeting dates/attendance were codified as indices of school success in retaining and preparing PLs. Surveys with 5,712 students showed wide school-level variation in success of PLs in reaching their classmates with the prevention concepts. In analytic models examining predictors of school-level exposure, a higher proportion of student population trained as PLs and greater retention of PLs predicted higher population exposure to the prevention program, congruent with diffusion of innovations theory, whereas frequency of meetings did not.

Contribution to the field

Identified an efficient method (derived from the SIC) for assessing a school's success in preparing/retaining peer leaders. This approach shows promise in providing schools actionable data to increase impact of peer-led programs.

Funding

NIH R01MH091452.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
School & Community-Based Prevention Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine
(2)
Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology (Ce-PIM), Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
(3)
Oregon Social Learning Center
(4)
Institute for Prevention Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, USC

Copyright

© Wyman et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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