Topitzes, J., Bacalso, E., Plummer-Lee, C. T., Jonas-Gordon, S., & Mersky, J. P. (2022). Trauma Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (T-SBIRT) Implemented within TANF Employment Services: An Outcome Study. Journal of Social Service Research, 48(6), 753-767.
The current study tested a trauma screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (T-SBIRT) interview protocol as implemented within Temporary Assistance to Needy Families programming. Using a non-experimental process evaluation and quasi-experimental outcome evaluation (N = 88), the study assessed four research questions. First, do T-SBIRT providers reach model adherence rates above 90%? Second, do over 90% of T-SBIRT completers experience the intervention as tolerable? Third, is T-SBIRT completion associated with decreases in mental health symptoms? Fourth, is T-SBIRT completion linked to reductions in positive mental health screenings? Process data emerged from provider-completed integrity checklists. Participant-completed baseline and follow-up surveys furnished outcome data, i.e., mental health indicators from validated scales of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Descriptive statistics answered questions one and two; multivariate analyses addressed questions three and four. Results revealed that providers realized adherence rates at 98.5%; 91.3% of completers found the protocol tolerable; and completers reported significant reductions in depression symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and positive PTSD screenings relative to a comparison group. Findings recommend integrating T-SBIRT into social services to promote participant mental health and potentially enhance program outcomes. Future T-SBIRT research should include a randomized controlled trial assessing long-term mental health, employment, and income outcomes.