An open label pilot study of a brief psychosocial intervention for disaster and trauma survivors

O'Donnell, Meaghan Louise, Lau, Winnie, Fredrickson, Julia, Gibson, Kari, Bryant, Richard Allan, Bisson, Jonathon, Burke, Suzie, Busuttil, Walter, Coghlan, Andrew, Creamer, Mark, Gray, Debbie, Greenberg, Neil, McDermott, Brett, McFarlane, Alexander C., Monson, Candice M., Phelps, Andrea, Ruzek, Josef I., Schnurr, Paula P., Unsang, Janette, Watson, Patricia, Whitton, Shona, Williams, Richard, Cowlishaw, Sean, and Forbes, David (2020) An open label pilot study of a brief psychosocial intervention for disaster and trauma survivors. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. 483.

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Abstract

Background: In the aftermath of disaster, a large proportion of people will develop psychosocial difficulties that impair recovery, but for which presentations do not meet threshold criteria for disorder. Although these adjustment problems can cause high distress and impairment, and often have a trajectory towards mental health disorder, few evidence-based interventions are available to facilitate recovery.

Objective: This paper describes the development and pilot testing of an internationally developed, brief, and scalable psychosocial intervention that targets distress and poor adjustment following disaster and trauma.

Method: The Skills fOr Life Adjustment and Resilience (SOLAR) program was developed by an international collaboration of trauma and disaster mental health experts through an iterative expert consensus process. The resulting five session, skills-based intervention, deliverable by community-based or frontline health or disaster workers with little or no formal mental health training (known as coaches), was piloted with 15 Australian bushfire survivors using a pre-post with follow up, mixed-methods design study.

Results: Findings from this pilot demonstrated that the SOLAR program was safe and feasible for non-mental health frontline workers (coaches) to deliver locally after two days of training. Participants' attendance rates and feedback about the program indicated that the program was acceptable. Pre-post quantitative analysis demonstrated reductions in psychological distress, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and impairment.

Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that the delivery of the SOLAR program after disaster by trained, frontline workers with little or no mental health experience is feasible, acceptable, safe, and beneficial in reducing psychological symptoms and impairment among disaster survivors. Randomized controlled trials of the SOLAR program are required to advance evidence of its efficacy.

Item ID: 64475
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1664-0640
Keywords: trauma, adjustment disorder, posttraumatic stress, disaster, psychosocial intervention, brief intervention, sub-clinical, sub-syndromal
Copyright Information: © 2020 O'Donnell, Lau, Fredrickson, Gibson, Bryant, Bisson, Burke, Busuttil, Coghlan, Creamer, Gray, Greenberg, McDermott, McFarlane, Monson, Phelps, Ruzek, Schnurr, Ugsang, Watson, Whitton, Williams, Cowlishaw and Forbes. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funders: Princes Trust Australia, Australian Government Department of Defence, Australian Government Department Veterans' Affairs, Australian Government Department of Health, The University of Melbourne, Returned Service League (Queensland and Victoria), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Grant Number 1073041
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2020 21:49
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320221 Psychiatry (incl. psychotherapy) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 100%
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