Stress and coping in social service providers after Superstorm Sandy: An examination of a postdisaster psychoeducational intervention.

Social service providers play a critical role in disaster recovery yet are disproportionately affected by disaster-related distress such as burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Psychosocial interventions designed for social service providers in the aftermath of a disaster are critical to aid in recovery. This article examines the impact of the Caregivers Journey of Hope (CJoH), a psychosocial intervention designed to alleviate stress and amplify coping resources in caregivers after a disaster. Social service providers (N = 722) living and working in New York and New Jersey during Superstorm Sandy were surveyed before and after participation in the CJoH. The surveys examined knowledge, stress, satisfaction, future orientation, and social support. Paired samples t tests illustrated all of the scale items significantly improved across time for the participants following participation in the CJoH. Significant negative correlations existed between current stress, coping knowledge, and perceived ability to handle stress. Results of a regression analysis found that social support was positively related to higher levels of knowledge of community resources, awareness of the signs of stress, and knowledge of coping strategies and mindfulness breathing techniques. Fewer years of work experience and higher satisfaction with the CJoH were also associated with significant gains in several types of knowledge. Implications for ways through which psychosocial interventions such as the CJoH may reduce the negative psychological impact on disaster-affected social service providers are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)