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The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of an online virtual human role-play simulation in teaching high school educators and staff to identify, talk to, and if necessary, refer students in psychological distress to support services. High school educators (N = 31,144) from 43 US states and 5 American territories completed a baseline survey and then randomly assigned to a wait-list control or treatment group. Participants in the treatment group completed the training simulation which included active learning strategies to teach evidenced-based communication strategies such as motivational interviewing to build skills and shift attitudes. Immediately after the training, treatment group participants completed a post-survey and then a 3-month follow-up survey. Baseline and post-surveys included the validated gatekeeper behavior scale measures which assess attitudinal constructs that predict helping behaviors. Self-reported helping behaviors were collected at baseline from both groups and at the 3-month follow-up for the treatment group. The treatment group participants’ post and follow-up data were compared to the control group’s baseline measures. The treatment group post-training scores were significantly higher (p

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science

Publication Date





277 - 289