A Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Group Psychological First Aid

Katie E. Despeaux, Jeffrey M. Lating, George S. Everly, Martin F. Sherman, Matthew W. Kirkhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A randomized controlled trial assessed the efficacy of group psychological first aid (PFA) by comparing the Johns Hopkins RAPID-PFA model with a group conversation condition in 119 participants using the state version of State Trait Anxiety Scale and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedules. Both groups showed similar baseline scores, and after watching a distressing 5-minute video, both groups showed similar significant increases in state anxiety scores and negative affect scores, as well as similar decreases in positive affect scores. However, compared with the group conversation condition, the RAPID-PFA group evidenced significantly lower state anxiety scores at postintervention and at 30-minute delay. RAPID-PFA, compared with the group conversation condition, was also more effective in lowering negative affect scores postintervention, and significantly increasing positive affect scores at 30-minute delay. These results support the two primary goals of PFA, which are mitigating acute distress and instilling hope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-632
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of nervous and mental disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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