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Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2005 Winter;7(1):9-22.

A prospective cohort study of the effectiveness of employer-sponsored crisis interventions after a major disaster.

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Division of Health & Science Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-5293, USA.


Postdisaster crisis interventions have been viewed by many as the appropriate and immediate approach to enhance psychological well-being among persons affected by large-scale traumatic events. Yet, studies and systematic reviews have challenged the effectiveness of these efforts. This article provides the first rigorous scientific evidence to suggest that postdisaster crisis interventions in the workplace significantly reduced mental health disorders and symptoms up to 2 years after the initial interventions. Until now, studies have neither focused on the effectiveness and safety of brief mental health services following disasters, or traumatic events generally, nor examined the long-term impact of these interventions across a spectrum of outcomes using a rigorous research design. The focus of this study was to examine the impact of brief mental health crisis interventions received at the worksite following the World Trade Center disaster (WTCD) among a random sample of New York adults. The data for the present study come from a prospective cohort study of 1,681 adults interviewed by telephone at 1 year and 2 years after this event. Results indicate that worksite crisis interventions offered by employers following the WTCD had a beneficial impact across a spectrum of outcomes, including reduced risks for binge drinking, alcohol dependence, PTSD symptoms, major depression, somatization, anxiety, and global impairment, compared with individuals who did not receive these interventions. In addition, it appeared that 2-3 brief sessions achieved the maximum benefit for most outcomes examined. Implications for postdisaster crisis interventions efforts are discussed.

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