Workplace trauma and its management

a review of the literature

Rick J, Perryman S, Young K, Guppy A, Hillage J | Contract Research Report 170/98 | Health and Safety Executive | Apr 1998

Since the beginning of the 20th century there has been a growing awareness of the psychiatric impact of certain severe stressors on an individual's ability to function effectively, in both their personal and professional lives.

In more recent years, attention has been focused on the psychological consequences for those exposed directly to, or working in the aftermath of, extremely traumatic incidents. There has also been much recent debate around trauma management and the treatment of traumatic symptoms.

This report provides the findings from a major review of the research literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma-related mental health. It examines the historical development of our understanding of trauma, and the current definitions available for PTSD.

The organisational and legal implications of trauma are explored, as well as the data available on the scale and prevalence of trauma for different occupational groups.

The report then moves on to look at trauma management practices and establishes what is known about the efficacy of different approaches, followed by conclusions and recommendations.