Effectiveness of a Curriculum for Pediatric Residents to Address Adolescent Nonsuicidal Self-Injury

Nicholas J. Westers, Heather E. Needham, Jennifer B. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The present study assessed changes in pediatric resident competence in addressing adolescent nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) following a brief, single-session didactic training during the educational unit in adolescent medicine. This study also evaluated knowledge acquisition and retention over time, overall helpfulness of the training, and changes in the perception of how important residents believe that physicians receive training in NSSI. Methods: Pediatric residents participated in a single-session NSSI curriculum delivered as part of a monthlong clinical rotation from August 2016 to February 2019. Participants completed pretest, posttest, and 6-month follow-up surveys, and t tests and analyses of variance with post hoc comparisons evaluated changes in variables across the three time points. Results: One hundred twenty-seven of 162 eligible residents participated (78.4% response rate), and 69 completed the 6-month follow-up (54.3% retention rate). Prior to the NSSI didactic, 107 (85.6%) reported feeling not at all competent or only somewhat competent in responding to patients with a history of NSSI. Residents’ self-perceived competence increased significantly (p <.001) from pretest to posttest and was sustained longitudinally. A measure of objective knowledge also showed retention over time. Residents were significantly (p <.001) more likely after the didactic to believe that training in NSSI for physicians is very important compared to before the training. Conclusions: Following NSSI training, residents demonstrated increased knowledge and subjective competence in caring for adolescents who self-injure. It is feasible and important to integrate a brief, single-session NSSI curriculum into pediatric residency programs, such as in the adolescent medicine rotation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Adolescent health
  • Medical education
  • Nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Resident; Self-harm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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