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Differential Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention Based on Patient Characteristics.

Ammerman BA, Gebhardt HM, Lee JM, Tucker RP, Matarazzo BB, Reger MA. Differential Preferences for the Caring Contacts Suicide Prevention Intervention Based on Patient Characteristics. Archives of suicide research : official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research. 2020 Jul 1; 24(3):301-312.

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The Caring Contacts suicide prevention intervention has been promoted by the Joint Commission, given its effectiveness, high reach, and cost effectiveness. Despite its increased application, no study has examined whether patient characteristics influence perceptions of the intervention, which may inform implementation efforts and ultimately impact effectiveness. One hundred fifty-four veterans were recruited from a Veterans Affairs psychiatric inpatient unit. Participants completed a survey to provide feedback on preferences, including the message correspondent, format (e.g., postcard, email), the importance of handwriting (vs. typed), visual presentation, and schedule for mailings. Results demonstrated that Caring Contacts preferences did not differ by most variables, including military rank, combat deployment history, or most personal technology use characteristics. Some demographic differences were identified, especially by age. More older veterans preferred messages to be sent in a physical letter compared to younger veterans, but if messages were sent via postal mail, younger veterans had a stronger preference for messages to be handwritten and sent using real stamps and colorful envelopes. Overall, findings suggest that few Caring Contacts adaptations are needed based on patient characteristics. Programs targeting older cohorts should consider postal mail formats for Caring Contacts.

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