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Archivos de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales

On-line version ISSN 1578-2549


PRIETO-CALLEJERO, Blanca et al. Systematic review of the reduction of negative emotional effects in emergency and disaster response workers through catharsis techniques. Arch Prev Riesgos Labor [online]. 2020, vol.23, n.1, pp.52-67.  Epub Sep 21, 2020. ISSN 1578-2549.


To analyze catharsis techniques used with professionals assisting victims of emergencies and disasters.


Systematic review carried out in seven bibliographic databases: MEDLINE-Pubmed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Scopus, PsycINFO, and other secondary sources, for articles published between 2008 and 2017, with the terms “catharsis”, “emergencies”, “debriefing” y “post-traumatic stress”. Publication and selection biases were taken into account.


Five reviews met the study inclusion criteria. Distress and traumatic experiences following an emergency or disaster are very common among health professionals, with adverse repercussions at the physical, psychological and cognitive levels. . Some authors find that debriefing offers an opportunity for emotional release and toreduce the impact of stress on the lives of emergency responders, acting as a support network where they can reconstruct their experiences, express their thoughts and feelings, and reduce the impact on their lives. For other authors, however, this technique is not always effective for all professionals and may lead to negative consequences.


Debriefing is a common intervention that promotes catharsis. However, there is considerable controversy over its implementation and effectiveness. This study identified a diversity of catharsis techniques applied to staff responding to emergencies and disasters.

Keywords : Post-Traumatic stress disorder; crisis intervention; debriefing; catharsis; disasters; emergencies.

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