Training and post-disaster interventions for the psychological impacts on disaster-exposed employees: a systematic review

Samantha K. Brooks*, Rebecca Dunn, Richard Amlôt, Neil Greenberg, G. James Rubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: When organisations are exposed to traumatic situations, such as disasters, often staff are not prepared for the potential psychological impact which can negatively affect their wellbeing. Aims: To conduct a systematic review of the literature on psychological interventions aimed at improving staff wellbeing during or after disasters. Method: Four electronic literature databases were searched. Reference lists of relevant articles were hand-searched. Results: Fifteen articles were included. Five studies suggested that pre-disaster skills training and disaster education can improve employee confidence. Ten studies on post-disaster interventions revealed mixed findings on the effectiveness of psychological debriefing and limited evidence for cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and meditation. Conclusions: Pre-disaster training and education can improve employees’ confidence in their ability to cope with disasters. The routine use of post-disaster psychological debriefings is not supported; further research is needed to determine if debriefing interventions could be useful in some circumstances. Further research is needed to provide more evidence on the potential positive effects of cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and meditation. More experimental studies on psychological disaster interventions are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King’s College London in partnership with Public Health England (PHE). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England. The funding body did not play a role in the design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Disasters
  • interventions
  • wellbeing
  • work


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