Implementing Trauma Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (T‐SBIRT) within employment services: A feasibility trial

Topitzes, J., Mersky, J. P., Mueller, D. J., Bacalso, E., & Williams, C. (2019). Implementing Trauma Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (T‐SBIRT) within employment services: A feasibility trial. American Journal of Community Psychology.

Abstract

Research suggests that low‐income adults accessing employment services have experienced high levels of trauma exposure and associated consequences. Moreover, the health‐related effects of trauma undermine employment and employability. A trauma‐informed protocol—trauma screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment or T‐SBIRT—was therefore implemented within employment service programs serving low‐income urban residents. To assess the feasibility of integrating T‐SBIRT within employment services, five domains were explored as follows: suitability, acceptability, client adherence, provider adherence or fidelity, and intended outcomes. With a sample of low‐income adults (N = 83), the study revealed that T‐SBIRT is suitable for employment service participants given high rates of trauma exposure (90.4% experienced two or more lifetime traumas), along with high rates of positive screening results for post‐traumatic stress disorder (48.8%), major depression (35.4%), and generalized anxiety (47.6%). Study participants appeared to find T‐SBIRT acceptable as evidenced by an 83% acceptance rate. All participants accepting T‐SBIRT services completed them, revealing strong client adherence. Provider adherence or model fidelity was high, that is, 98.5%. Finally, the majority of participants accepted a referral to a mental health care (i.e., 56.6%), and over three‐quarters accepted a referral to any outside service including primary or mental health care. Implications of findings are discussed.

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