Employee Assistance Research Foundation

Resources: Published Peer-Reviewed Articles funded by EARF

Resources: Published Peer-Reviewed Articles funded by EARF


Impact of Employee Assistance Services on Depression, Anxiety, and Risky Alcohol Use: A Quasi-Experimental Study.
Richmond, Melissa PhD; Pampel, Fred PhD; Wood, Randi LCSW, CEAP & Nunes, Ana PhD
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, July 2016, Vol. 58, Issue 7, pgs. 641–650.
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000744

Objective: To test the impact of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) on reducing employee depression, anxiety, and risky alcohol use, and whether improvements in clinical symptoms lead to improved work outcomes.

Methods: The study used a prospective, quasi-experimental design with propensity score matching. Participants (n = 344) came from 20 areas of state government. EAP (n = 156) and non-EAP (n = 188) employees were matched on baseline demographic, psychosocial, and work-related characteristics that differentiate EAP from non-EAP users. Follow-up surveys were collected 2 to 12 months later (M = 6.0).

Results: EAP significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, but not at-risk alcohol use. EAP reductions in depression and anxiety mediated EAP-based reductions in absenteeism and presenteeism.

Conclusions: EAPs provide easy-to-access work-based services that are effective at improving employee mental health.


The Impact of Employee Assistance Services on Workplace Outcomes: Results of a Prospective, Quasi-Experimental Study.
Richmond, Melissa PhD; Pampel, Fred PhD; Wood, Randi LCSW, CEAP & Nunes, Ana PhD
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Published online Dec 14 , 2015
doi: 10.1037/ocp0000018

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are widely used to help employees experiencing personal or work-related difficulties that impact work productivity. However, rigorous research on the effectiveness of programs to improve work-related outcomes is lacking. The current study represents a major advance in EAP research by using a prospective, quasi-experimental design with a large and diverse employee base. Using propensity scores calculated from demographic, social, work-related, and psychological variables collected on baseline surveys, we matched 156 employees receiving EAP to 188 non-EAP employees. Follow-up surveys were collected from 2 to 12 months post-baseline (M = 6.0). At follow-up, EAP employees had significantly greater reductions in absenteeism (b = -.596, p = .001) and presenteeism (b = -.217, p = .038), but not workplace distress (b = -.079, p = .448), than did non-EAP employees. Tests of moderation of baseline alcohol use, depression, anxiety, and productivity indicate that for the most part, the program works equally well for all groups. However, EAP did more to reduce absenteeism for those who began with lower severity of depression and anxiety at baseline. Results provide the scientific rigor needed to demonstrate EAP impact on improved work outcomes. In the first study of its kind, findings confirm the value of EAPs to help employees address personal and work-related concerns that are affecting job performance.


Eureka: An Employee Services Perception Study in Continental Europe.
Vansteenwegen, Debora PhD; Sommer, Manuel PhD; Antonissen, Dirk MA; Laneiro, Tito PhD & Nunes, Odete PhD
Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, Volume 30, No.1-2, Pages 79-111, 2015.
DOI: 10.1080/15555240.2015.1000152

The EUREKA research study, based on an originally developed comprehensive Employee Services Questionnaire, assessed current and desired services in the Employee Assistance (EA) field in six Eurozone countries (three northern European countries [Belgium, France, and The Netherlands] and three southern European countries [Portugal, Spain, and Greece]). A total of 327 participants completed the online questionnaire. Several relevant and interesting findings about the prevalence and needs of EA-type services in several industry grouping and different cultural settings could be determined. These results can help shape the responses from Employee Assistance Program providers attending to different European cultural and economic realities.


The Canadian National Behavioral Consortium Industry Profile of External EAP Vendors
Csiernik, Rick MSW, PhD, RSW; Sharar, David PhD & Granberry, Stanford PhD
Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, Volume 29, No. 3, Pages 195-209, 2014.
DOI: 10.1080/15555240.2014.928599

A secondary analysis of data provided the initial examination of comparative metrics pertaining to Canadian employee assistance program (EAP) vendors. Contracts held by the 12 participating organizations ranged from 10 to 6,500 with lives covered ranging from 300,000 to 6.3 million, underscoring not only the diverse nature of EAP vendors in Canada but issues with comparing data among such vastly different providers. The most prominent model of service provision was capped EAP counseling which led to an average of 3.1 counseling sessions per client with only one vendor having a mean of greater than four. The majority of counseling offered through Canadian EAP vendors is provided by fee for service affiliate counselors. All client satisfaction scores were positive; however, the vast majority of clients did not complete any type of evaluation leaving both EAP vendors and client organizations with no substantive knowledge of the impact of the service. In the comparatively small EAP market that Canada represents, it was not surprising to learn that the greatest business concern of the vendors was product pricing, especially as ten percent of EAP services were being provided as part of larger bundled benefits plans and thus there was no actual direct cost for the EAP.


The National Behavioral Consortium Industry Profile of External EAP Vendors.
Attridge, Mark PhD; Cahill, Terry LCSW; Granberry,  Stanford PhD & Herlihy, Patricia PhD
Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, Volume 28, No. 4. Pages 251-324, 2013.
DOI: 10.1080/15555240.2013.845050

It is common practice in many professions, fields, and industries to disseminate comparative information. Absent this vital resource an individual company cannot accurately evaluate their performance against a similar cohort and therefore must rely upon anecdotal information. The findings of this study address this deficiency in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) field by reporting empirically derived comparative data for external providers of EAP services. During 2012 the National Behavioral Consortium obtained a convenience sample of 82 external EAP vendors, located primarily in the United States and Canada and 10 other countries and ranging in size from local providers to global business enterprises. The combined customer base represented by these vendors included more than 35,000 client companies and over 164 million total covered lives. The 44 survey items addressed eight categories: (1) company profile, (2) staffing, (3) customer profile, (4) utilization metrics, (5) survey tools and outcomes, (6) business management, (7) business development, and (8) forecasting the future of EAP. Results reveal a wide range between vendors on most of these factors. Comparisons were also conducted between vendors based on market size, country, and pricing model. Implications for operational practice and business development are discussed along with considerations for future research.