Psychiatr Q (2006) 77:231–238
Effects of Medical Crisis Intervention on Anxiety,
Depression, and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms:
AmyB.Stapleton,Psy.D.· Jeffrey Lating, Ph.D. ·
Matthew Kirkhart, Ph.D. · George S. Everly, Jr., Ph.D.
Published online: 6 September 2006
Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006
Abstract A meta-analysis of 11 studies (N = 2124) investigating the impact of individual
crisis intervention with medical patients yielded a signiﬁcant, overall moderate effect size,
d = 0.44. The strongest effect of individual crisis intervention was on posttraumatic stress
symptoms (d = 0.57) and anxiety symptoms (d = 0.52). Speciﬁc moderating factors, such
as single versus multiple sessions, single versus multiple components of intervention, and
level of interventionists’ training, were also analyzed. In sum, the results support highly
trained interventionists continuing to provide multi-session interventions in order to mitigate
posttraumatic symptomatology following traumatic events.
Keywords Crisis intervention
Following a medical diagnosis, studies suggest that approximately 6–20% of medical
patients, speciﬁcally cancer and myocardial infarction patients, may develop posttrau-
matic symptomatology [1–3]. Moreover, impending surgery, or complicated childbirth has
been documented as eliciting a crisis response [4–6]. A crisis response may include re-
experiencing, hyperarousal, and avoidance symptoms which are three major symptom clus-
ters of posttraumatic stress identiﬁed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, 4th ed-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) . In addition, an individual may experi-
ence emotional reactions in a psychological crisis including high levels of anxiety, grief,
emotional shock, terror, anger, and numbness [8, 9].
The aforementioned data suggest the ongoing need for services such as consultation
liaison psychiatry or early crisis intervention techniques. Recently, the National Institute of
Mental Health  deﬁned early intervention as “The provision of psychological help to
A. B. Stapleton, Psy. D. (
) · J. Lating, Ph.D. · M. Kirkhart, Ph.D. · G. S. Everly, Jr., Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Loyola
College in Maryland,
408 Hogan Street, Starkville, MS 39759, USA