The Current State of Research on EAPs
Although much evidence suggests that today’s Employee Assistance Programs are generally effective, there are a number of questions that must be answered through high-quality scientifically valid research to refine our understanding of just how to design, manage, and evaluate programs in order to provide the highest value to employees, families, and organizations.
Simply stated, the EA field has not produced a sufficient body of compelling research adequate to its provision of services to millions of workers, both in the United States and abroad. The highly competitive EAP marketplace, the typically proprietary nature of EAP data, and other obstacles have resulted in few researchers engaged in rigorous EA research and a paucity of empirical studies. Although some of these suggest EAPs are generally effective, the existing literature is dominated by studies and program evaluations that fail to meet rigorous scientific standards, leaving many critical questions unanswered.
Today, there is a growing consensus that we need to build a stronger research base to maximize the usefulness of EA services to employers, employees and dependents. This evidence-based research must focus on contemporary EA service delivery models, examining the “active ingredients” in EAP effectiveness and measuring relevant workplace outcomes. The results of such studies are crucial to guide important decisions about employer resource allocations and employee benefits.
The Employee Assistance Research Foundation (EARF), is still a young institution. Our Leadership and Board of Directors represent well known, highly experienced and highly respected individuals in the international EAP field. Please take the time to look over the brief biographies of those who serve on our Board in the ABOUT US section. Most hold PhDs, and all are very familiar with sound empirical research requirements.
To achieve our vision, we look closely at proposals for grant assistance and fund only those representing the most relevant and best designed research studies. See our FUNDED RESEARCH section to learn more about our grantees and visit the PRESENTATIONS section of this website to review the results of our supported studies. Press releases and other information about the Foundation are found in the PRESS & NEWS section. We hope to begin a spirited, interactive discussion in a future feature – Our Blog – The Future of EAPs.
Please keep in mind that the EARF is a not-for-profit organization, currently supported solely through private funding, with gifts from Organizational Supporters and Individual Supporters who find our mission and efforts valuable. Please visit the Ways to Support EARF section to learn how you can become a supporter. We need your support to realize the mission and meet the goals of the Foundation.
Our Vision: Inspiring with Evidence
The Employee Assistance Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation, seeks to raise the power of Employee Assistance Programs to transform individual lives and maximize employee contributions to the success of work organizations. We are dedicated to being a catalyst for promoting and increasing funding of evidence-based scientific research of contemporary Employee Assistance programming.
Our Role: Support New Research and Disseminate Results
The Foundation’s role in achieving our vision is to define key issues for research and to support rigorous, evidence-based consideration of them. Our focus includes: setting a research agenda; providing strategic research grants; and disseminating results to employers, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and other stakeholders.