A meta-analysis of 36 crisis intervention studies

Albert R. Roberts, George S. Everly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalBrief Treatment and Crisis Intervention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Crisis intervention
  • Critical incident stress management
  • Effect size
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Family preservation
  • Meta-analysis
  • Outcome measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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