Evaluating peer-peer depression outreach: College students helping peers approach and respond to students in crisis


This study evaluated the effects of a peer-peer depression outreach program for college students (Depression OutReach Alliance [DORA] College Program). Fifty-six college students participated in either the DORA program or a control program and completed pretest, posttest, and follow-up assessments. These assessments measured responses to and desired social distance from an at-risk male peer, self-stigma and perceived social stigma associated with psychological help-seeking, knowledge of depression and suicide, and crisis response skills. Results indicated that DORA participants reported improved crisis response skills, t(50) = 2.55, p = .014, d = .71, desired less social distance from the distressed peer, t(26) = 3.07, p = .005, d = -.60, and perceived there to be less social stigma related to seeking psychological help after the intervention, t(26) = 2.71, p = .012, d = -.52. Implications for college student depression and suicide outreach are discussed.

Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research