Peer-group risk assessment: a post-traumatic management strategy for hierarchical organizations

Occup Med (Lond). 2003 Oct;53(7):469-75. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqg093.


Background: Organizations have moral and legal duties to consider the psychological needs of their workforce following exposure to potentially traumatic events related to the workplace. Additionally, it makes economic sense to avoid loss of valuable personnel to the effects of psychological trauma. There have been attempts to provide a range of psychological interventions for staff after exposure to potentially traumatizing events, but recent evidence-based medicine publications have questioned their effectiveness and, indeed, some studies show that single-session psychological debriefings may be harmful.

Aim: This paper presents a post-traumatic management strategy based upon peer-group risk assessment which was developed by the British military and is in use with other hierarchical organizations. The presented model keeps employees functioning after traumatic events and provides support and education to those who require it. Additionally, the strategy aims to identify those who are unable to cope after potentially traumatizing events and aims to refer them for early intervention, which has been shown to be of benefit.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combat Disorders / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control*