Evaluation Ecological Intervention in Aftermath of Disasters

Evaluation of an Ecological Intervention Targeting Helpers in the Aftermath of Disasters

Matthew S. Yoder, Peter W. Tuerk, Medical University of South Carolina; Danny Axsom, Virgnia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Natural and human-made disasters continue to place significant mental health strains on individuals, communities, and governments around the world. The dominant model of mental health intervention following disasters is based on a medical model and often falls short of addressing the medium- to long-term needs of affected survivors. The present study described and evaluated an alternative, ecological model of mental health intervention. A program evaluation was conducted on the STAR program, a program designed to train helpers from affected communities in general trauma recovery principles and practices. Results showed that a 4.5-day training significantly improved the trauma-related knowledge and practices of helpers. In addition, helpers attending the training reported significantly fewer symptoms of traumatic stress at post-training than at baseline. Results and limitations as they apply to the broader field of disaster mental health are discussed.


Vol 6, No 2 / March 2012     •     See Terms and Conditions for educational use.

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