EAP-Based Critical Incident Stress Management: Utilization of a Practice–Based Assessment of Incident Severity Level in Responding to Workplace Trauma
AuthorDeFraia, Gary S.
PublisherChevron Publishing Corporation
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractCentral to the field of trauma psychology is assessment of the impact of critical incidents on individuals, as measured by individual symptoms of stress. Accordingly, the trauma literature reflects a proliferation of clinical impact of event scales. Workplace incidents however, affect not only individual employees, but also work organizations, requiring a multi-level response. Critical incident stress management (CISM) is the most prevalent multi-level incident response strategy utilized by organizations, often through specialized CISM units operating within their employee assistance programs (EAPs). While EAP-based CISM units seeks to support both individuals and organizations, studies focused on individual stress dominate the literature, mirroring assessment scales that tend to emphasize clinical as opposed to organizational practice. This research contributes to less-prevalent studies exploring incident characteristics as disruptive to organizations, rather than clinical symptoms as disruptive to individuals. To measure incident disruption, an EAP-based CISM unit developed a critical incident severity scale. By analyzing this unit’s extensive practice database, this exploratory study examines how critical incident severity level varies among various types of incidents. Employing the methodology of clinical data mining, this practice-based research generates evidence-informed practice recommendations in the areas of EAP-based CISM intake assessment, organizational consultation and incident response planning.
CitationDeFraia, G. (2013). EAP-Based Critical Incident Stress Management: Utilization of a Practice–Based Assessment of Incident Severity Level in Responding to Workplace Trauma. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, 15(2), 105 – 122
Keywordcritical incident severity index scale
critical incident stress management
clinical data mining
Employee assistance programs
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/4360
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Workplace Disruption following Psychological Trauma: Influence of Incident Severity Level on Organizations' Post-Incident Response Planning and ExecutionDeFraia, Gary S. (NIOC Health Organization, 2016-04)Background: Psychologically traumatic workplace events (known as critical incidents), which occur globally, are increasing in prevalence within the USA. Assisting employers in their response is a growing practice area for occupational medicine, occupational social work, industrial psychology and other occupational health professions. Traumatic workplace events vary greatly in their level of organizational disruption. Objective: To explore whether extent of workplace disruption influences organizations' decisions for post-incident response planning and plan execution. Methods: Administrative data mining was employed to examine practice data from a workplace trauma response unit in the USA. Bivariate analyses were conducted to test whether scores from an instrument measuring extent of workplace disruption associated with organizational decisions regarding post-incident response. Results: The more severe and disruptive the incident, the more likely organizations planned for and followed through to deliver on-site interventions. Following more severe incidents, organizations were also more likely to deliver group sessions and to complete follow-up consultations to ensure ongoing worker recovery. Conclusion: Increasing occupational health practitioners' knowledge of varying levels of organizational disruption and familiarity with a range of organizational response strategies improves incident assessment, consultation and planning, and ensures interventions delivered are consistent with the level of assistance needed on both worker and organizational levels.
Organizational Outcomes Following Traumatic Workplace Incidents: A Practice-Based Exploration of Impact of Incident Severity LevelDeFraia, Gary S. (Taylor and Francis, 2013)Traumatic workplace events (critical incidents) occur with unfortunate regularity and with significant repercussions for affected organizations. Critical incident stress management (CISM) units, often a specialty component of employee assistance programs provide consultation and support for workplace incidents. While CISM seeks to support both individual and organizational outcomes, trauma research oriented towards individual traumatic stress dominates the literature, mirroring practitioner training that tends to emphasize clinical over organizational practice. This research contributes to less-prevalent studies that explore organizational level outcomes. Despite the facts that social workers play a central role in critical incident response and CISM units collect massive amounts of practice data, there are no published social work studies capitalizing on the potential of existing critical incident data. Employing the methodology of clinical data mining, this practice-based, exploratory research examines the propositions that incident severity level associates with several post-incident organizational outcomes. Several findings translate into considerations for evidence-informed CISM practice in the areas of intake assessment, organizational consultation and incident response planning.
Psychological Trauma in the Workplace: Variation of Incident Severity among Industry Settings and between Recurring vs. Isolated IncidentsDeFraia, Gary S. (2015-07)Background: Psychologically traumatic workplace events (known as critical incidents) occur within various work environments, with workgroups in certain industries vulnerable to multiple incidents. With the increasing prevalence of incidents in the USA, incident response is a growing practice area within occupational medicine, industrial psychology, occupational social work and other occupational health professions. Objective: To analyze a measure of incident severity based on level of disruption to the workplace and explore whether incident severity varied among different industry settings or between workgroups experiencing multiple vs. single traumatic incidents. Methods: Administrative data mining was employed to examine practice data from a workplace trauma response unit in the USA. Bivariate analyses were conducted to test whether scores from an instrument measuring incident severity level varied among industry settings or between workgroups impacted by multiple vs. isolated events. Results: Incident severity level differed among various industry settings. Banks, retail stores and fast food restaurants accounted for the most severe incidents, while industrial and manufacturing sites reported less severe incidents. Workgroups experiencing multiple incidents reported more severe incidents than workgroups experiencing a single incident. Conclusion: Occupational health practitioners should be alert to industry differences in several areas: pre-incident resiliency training, the content of business recovery plans, assessing worker characteristics, strategies to assist continuous operations and assisting workgroups impacted by multiple or severe incidents.