Teaching physicians to assess suicidal youth presenting to the emergency department

Sarah McCue Horwitz, Leslie J. Heinberg, Amy Storfer-Isser, Donna Holland Barnes, Michael Smith, Rahi Kapur, Robert L Findling, Glenn Currier, Holly Wilcox, Karl Wilkens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether a 5-module self-paced computerized educational program improves residents' skills in assessing and managing youth presenting to the emergency department in acute psychiatric distress. Methods: The evaluation used a quasi-experimental posttest-only design assessing both knowledge of the educational context of the program and self-rated pretest knowledge of program content with 32 residents recruited from 1 medical center in Cleveland, Ohio. Results: About half of the respondents were female (48%); almost two thirds were white (65%), and few were trained in psychiatric assessment of children/adolescents. On average, residents had significantly higher scores on the posttest compared with the self-rated pretest (6.4 ± 1.1 vs 3.8 ± 2.3; P <0.001), an effect size of 1.32. Residents responded positively to the modules and rated them highly on educational content (4.2 ± 0.5 on a 5-point scale) and satisfaction with clinical applicability (8.2 ± 1.2 on a 10-point scale) and found the program easy to navigate (8.5 ± 1.9 on a 10-point scale). Conclusions: A brief, self-administered, Web-based training program shows promise for improving residents' knowledge about suicidal behaviors in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-605
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011



  • educations
  • suicide
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

Horwitz, S. M., Heinberg, L. J., Storfer-Isser, A., Barnes, D. H., Smith, M., Kapur, R., Findling, R. L., Currier, G., Wilcox, H., & Wilkens, K. (2011). Teaching physicians to assess suicidal youth presenting to the emergency department. Pediatric Emergency Care, 27(7), 601-605. https://doi.org/10.1097/PEC.0b013e31822255a1