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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Advance Access originally published online on January 17, 2006
Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2006 6(1):10-21; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhj006
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© The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Original Article

A Meta-Analysis of 36 Crisis Intervention Studies

   Albert R. Roberts, PhD, DABFE
   George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, ABPP

From the Faculty of Arts and Science, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (Roberts) and Department of Psychiatry and Center for Public Health Preparedness, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Everly)

Contact Author: Albert R. Roberts, Professor of Criminal Justice, Faculty of Arts and Science, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Livingston College Campus, Lucy Stone Hall, B Wing-261, Piscataway, NJ 08854. E-mail: prof.albertroberts{at}

This article is designed to increase our knowledge base about effective and contraindicated types of crisis intervention. A number of crisis intervention studies focus on the extent to which psychiatric morbidity (e.g., depressive disorders, suicide ideation, and posttraumatic stress disorder) was reduced as a result of individual or group crisis interventions or multicomponent critical incident stress management (CISM). In addition, family preservation, also known as in-home intensive crisis intervention, focused on the extent to which out-of-home placement of abused children was reduced at follow-up. There are a small number of evidence-based crisis intervention programs with documented effectiveness. This exploratory meta-analysis of the crisis intervention research literature assessed the results of the most commonly used crisis intervention treatment modalities. This exploratory meta-analysis documented high average effect sizes that demonstrated that both adults in acute crisis or with trauma symptoms and abusive families in acute crisis can be helped with intensive crisis intervention and multicomponent CISM in a large number of cases. We conclude that intensive home-based crisis intervention with families as well as multicomponent CISM are effective interventions. Crisis intervention is not a panacea, and booster sessions are often necessary several months to 1 year after completion of the initial intensive crisis intervention program. Good diagnostic criteria are necessary in using this modality because not all situations are appropriate for it.

KEY WORDS: crisis intervention, outcome measures, meta-analysis, effect size, family preservation, critical incident stress management, evidence-based practice

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