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International Handbook of Work and Health Psychology, 3rd Edition by Marc J. Schabracq, James C. Quick, Cary L. Cooper

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CHAPTER 17Employee Assistance Programs: A Research-Based Primer

Mark Attridge

Attridge Studios, Minneapolis, USA

17.1 INTRODUCTION

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are an important part of many organizations. This chapter features a review of the literature to provide a research-based overview of EAPs and their role in supporting the mental health and work performance of employees. Many aspects of EAPs are presented in this chapter, including what defines an EAP, the history of the field, the scope of EAP services, what makes EAPs unique, the market prevalence of EAPs, utilization, outcomes, the return on investment (ROI) for EAPs, and future trends. But first the business need for EAPs is examined to understand why these programs were initially developed and why they continue to flourish.

17.2 WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS

17.2.1 Why are EAPs Needed?

Comprehensive reviews of the research literature on workplace mental health abound, including reports by researchers (Brun et al., 2003; Kahn & Langlieb, 2003), business groups and consultants (American Psychiatric Association, 2006; National Business Group on Health/Finch & Phillips, 2005; Watson Wyatt Worldwide, 2007), the Canadian government (Larson et al., 2007), the United States government (DHSS, 1999; Masi et al., 2004), the European Union (McDaid, 2008), and the World Health Organization (WHO; Hyman et al., 2006). There are a number of conclusions from these reviews that support the need for more employer ...

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