The SAFETY Program: A Treatment-Development Trial of a Cognitive-Behavioral Family Treatment for Adolescent Suicide Attempters

Joan Rosenbaum Asarnow, Michele Berk, Jennifer L. Hughes, Nicholas L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to describe feasibility, safety, and outcome results from a treatment development trial of the SAFETY Program, a brief intervention designed for integration with emergency services for suicide-attempting youths. Suicide-attempting youths, ages 11 to 18, were enrolled in a 12-week trial of the SAFETY Program, a cognitive-behavioral family intervention designed to increase safety and reduce suicide attempt (SA) risk (N = 35). Rooted in a social-ecological cognitive-behavioral model, treatment sessions included individual youth and parent session-components, with different therapists assigned to youths and parents, and family session-components to practice skills identified as critical in the pathway for preventing repeat SAs in individual youths. Outcomes were evaluated at baseline, 3-month, and 6-month follow-ups. At the 3-month posttreatment assessment, there were statistically significant improvements on measures of suicidal behavior, hopelessness, youth and parent depression, and youth social adjustment. There was one reported SA by 3 months and another by 6 months, yielding cumulative attempt rates of 3% and 6% at 3 and 6 months, respectively. Treatment satisfaction was high. Suicide-attempting youths are at high risk for repeat attempts and continuing mental health problems. Results support the value of a randomized controlled trial to further evaluate the SAFETY intervention. Extension of treatment effects to parent depression and youth social adjustment are consistent with our strong family focus and social-ecological model of behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-203
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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