Can training improve laypersons helping behaviour in first aid? A randomised controlled deception trial

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There is limited evidence indicating that laypersons trained in first aid provide better help, but do not help more often than untrained laypersons. This study investigated the effect of conventional first aid training versus conventional training plus supplementary training aimed at decreasing barriers to helping.


The authors conducted a randomised controlled trial. After 24 h of conventional first aid training, the participants either attended an experimental lesson to reduce barriers to helping or followed a control lesson. The authors used a deception test to measure the time between the start of the unannounced simulated emergency and seeking help behaviour and the number of particular helping actions.


The authors randomised 72 participants to both groups. 22 participants were included in the analysis for the experimental group and 36 in the control group. The authors found no statistically or clinically significant differences for any of the outcome measures. The time until seeking help (geometrical mean and 95% CI) was 55.5 s (42.9 to 72.0) in the experimental group and 56.5 s (43.0 to 74.3) in the control group. 57% of the participants asked a bystander to seek help, 40% left the victim to seek help themselves and 3% did not seek any help.


Supplementary training on dealing with barriers to helping did not alter the helping behaviour. The timing and appropriateness of the aid provided can be improved.

Trial registration

The authors registered this trial at as NCT00954161.

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