A pilot study of an intervention to prevent negative mental health consequences of forensic mortuary work*


  • *

    This article was edited by the journal's previous editor, Dean G. Kilpatrick


This preliminary study investigated an intervention to mitigate mental health effects of forensic mortuary work. Fourteen peer-nominated opinion leaders at two mortuaries were trained in traumatic stress management methods. Effect was examined on variables assessing stress management and effects of traumatic stress. Sixty-two staff members participated. At baseline, opinion leaders did not differ from their colleagues on any variable. After intervention, opinion leaders had significantly better scores in comparison to coworkers in leisure repertoire, problem solving, and positive states of mind, but no difference in use of avoidance or social support, or in interpersonal relationships. Qualitative data suggests that opinion leaders had increased self-awareness, improved ability to tolerate unchangeable stressors, and increased belief in their ability to make changes.