Page down to view data and analysis regarding the impact of an EAP on employee productivity, depression, absenteeism and alcohol use. This section also contains a demographic summary of results, based on gender, age (generation), industry and season.

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CuraLinc used the Stanford Presenteeism Scale-6 (SPS-6) to assess the relationship between presenteeism, health problems and productivity for employees who participated in the employee assistance program (EAP). The SPS-6 measures an employee's perception of his or her ability to overcome the distraction of current physical and/or psychological problems in order to handle job stress, complete tasks, achieve goals and maintain sufficient focus and energy levels. The SPS-6 employs a Likert Scale to record responses, ranging from ‘Strongly Disagree’ (1) to ‘Strongly Agree’ (5). The maximum score of the six-question set is 30.

5,223 program participants completed the SPS-6 during the initial assessment, 777 of whom also completed the questionnaire again 30 days post-treatment. From among those who completed the questionnaire after 30 days, the average SPS-6 score increased from 18.8 to 24.9, a gain of 6.0.

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During the initial assessment, over 32% of EAP participants reported low presenteeism, which is loosely defined as one who is physically present at their job, but experiencing decreased productivity and sub-standard work quality due to their presenting issue.

  • Almost 80% of employees reported high productivity after using the EAP, compared to under 40% during the initial clinical assessment.

  • After participating with the EAP, the percentage of employees who reported low presenteeism dropped from 32.4% to 5.3%.

  • 69.4% of participants with low or moderate productivity migrated to high productivity after using the EAP.

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  • 70.1% of EAP participants reported improved productivity after using the program. Only 4.1% of participants reported deteriorated productivity.

  • Among employees with a significant (10 or more points) change after using the EAP, 98.2% reported significant productivity improvement.

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The EAP had the highest impact on employees who presented with job stress. Employees who used the EAP to address job stress also had the lowest average productivity score (16.2) during the initial assessment.

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The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a self-administered version of the PRIME-MD diagnostic instrument for common mental disorders. The PHQ-9 is the depression module of the PHQ, used for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression. The PHQ-9 incorporates DSM-IV depression diagnostic criteria with other leading major depressive symptoms into a brief tool, which CuraLinc uses for both clinical and outcomes-measuring purposes.

The PHQ-9 was offered to employees who presented with depression during the initial assessment. Of the 582 program participants who completed the PHQ-9 during the initial assessment, 49 also completed the questionnaire 30 days post-treatment.

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From among employees who completed the questionnaire during the assessment and again after 30 days, the average PHQ-9 score improved from 12.1 to 5.9.

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The impact of the EAP was most noticeable among participants who presented with severe, moderately severe or moderate depression during the initial assessment. The percentage of EAP participants in these categories dropped from 52.78% to 5.56%, 30 days after EAP treatment was completed.

  • The average PHQ-9 score dropped from 10.33 to 3.00 after using the EAP.

  • Over 72% of EAP participants with depression showed significant improvement after using the program, represented by a 10-point (two risk level) gain.

  • 89.47% of employees with moderate, moderately-severe or severe depression migrated to minimal or mild depression after EAP treatment.

Appendix 6. Percentage of EAP Participants with Moderate to Severe Depression

Appendix 6. Percentage of EAP Participants with Moderate to Severe Depression


The Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) is a psychometrically-tested and validated five-scale questionnaire, developed by Chestnut Global Partners. The WOS was designed to provide assessment on relevant individual differences that focus on outcomes which are related specifically to EAP interventions and are likely to change across time if treatment is successful, and remain static if it does not. The questionnaire requires responses to statements that refer to aspects of the participant's work and life experience that may be affected by the personal problems that the participant wants to address within the EAP. For the purpose of measuring outcomes, CuraLinc opted to use only the Absenteeism scale of the WOS. The five-question tool asked participants to report work time lost due to personal problems for the previous 30 days.

3,141 program participants completed WOS during the initial assessment, 428 of whom also completed the questionnaire again 30 days post-treatment. From among the 428 participants who completed the post-EAP questionnaire, the average number of hours missed during the previous 30 days based on the employee’s presenting concern dropped from 13.89 hours to 3.92 hours, a gain of 9.97 hours.

Appendix 7. Average WOS Responses (Hours Missed Due to EAP Presenting Concern)

Appendix 7. Average WOS Responses (Hours Missed Due to EAP Presenting Concern)

Because just over half (51%) of the 428 employees who completed both the assessment and 30-day questionnaire (Group A; n=220) reported time missed from work prior to using the EAP as a result of their presenting concern, it’s important to compare the results from this group to the group of employees who did not miss time prior to using the EAP (Group B; n=208).

Appendix 8. Comparison of 30-Day WOS Results by Time Missed Prior to Using the EAP

Appendix 8. Comparison of 30-Day WOS Results by Time Missed Prior to Using the EAP

While the impact of the program was profound for employees who reported time missed from work prior to using the EAP (Group A; 27.02 fewer hours missed), the program’s ability to limit time away from work for employees who were not absent from work prior to using the EAP (Group B) is just as significant.

Furthermore, a review of data reported from the 87 employees in Group A who missed at least 40 hours of work prior to using the EAP showed an even greater impact. Only 23% of those employees missed any time at all after using the EAP; and the average improvement was 56.08 hours per employee.

Appendix 9. WOS Results by EAP Session Model

Appendix 9. WOS Results by EAP Session Model

From among EAP clients that offer models with five or more sessions per presenting concern, the impact on employee productivity was nearly 53% higher (10.55 hours) than it was for clients who offer a model with four or fewer sessions per issue (6.90 hours).


The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a 10-question screen that was developed by the World Health Organization as a simple way to screen and identify people who are at risk of developing alcohol problems. For the purposes of this study, CuraLinc analyzed post-EAP AUDIT scores to measure the impact of the employee assistance program.

From among EAP participants who completed the AUDIT questionnaire during the initial clinical assessment and again after 30 days, the average AUDIT score improved from 11.93 to 4.61.

  • Almost 36% of EAP participants who presented with alcohol use were considered higher risk (Zone III) or dependent (Zone IV) during the initial assessment. After using the EAP, that figure dropped to just over 7%.

  • Over 53% of EAP participants who consume alcohol regularly migrated one or more risk levels after using the EAP.

  • After using the EAP, over 82% of employees who used the EAP were considered low risk (Zone I).

Figure 10. Average AUDIT Responses

Figure 10. Average AUDIT Responses

Appendix 11. Distribution of AUDIT Responses

Appendix 11. Distribution of AUDIT Responses

Figure 12. Alcohol Use Risk Migration

Figure 12. Alcohol Use Risk Migration



The EAP had a greater impact on productivity and absenteeism from male employees, compared to females.

Although female employees who completed the SPS-6 survey 30 days post-treatment (n=248) were more productive than their male counterparts (n=186) during the initial assessment, the EAP had less of an impact on their productivity. Female employees (n=239) who completed the WOS after 30 days also missed less work at the time of their assessment than male employees (n=188), but the EAP had a more profound impact on male employees with an average improvement of 12.82 points.


Younger employees reported higher productivity, but older employees got more out of the EAP.

Much has been written about the differences between younger and older employees and the corresponding productivity levels of each generation. While Baby Boomers reported the highest productivity gains (7.36 points) and absenteeism reduction (14.33 hours) after using the EAP, Millennials and Gen-X employees were more likely to use the program before their presenting issue had a significant an impact on their job performance.


Health care employees reported the highest average productivity improvement from among all EAP users.

Many employees face personal and professional stressors that correspond to their line of work – from nurses who deal with life or death situations every day to teachers who have a tremendous amount of stress in their lives during the weeks leading up to summer vacation.

CuraLinc reviewed the impact of an EAP on employees across four industries: health care, education, manufacturing/distribution and retail. From among those, health care (hospital, home health, etc.) workers realized the greatest productivity improvement (8.08), while employees in manufacturing or distribution reported significantly reduced absenteeism (15.53 hours) after using the program.


Telebehavioral counseling is a vital component of an EAP, but the impact falls short of face-to-face counseling.

Telebehavioral counseling, which includes video, phone and chat-based interactions with licensed mental health counselors, expands the footprint of an EAP by engaging employees who may not have accessed the program through traditional channels.

CuraLinc reviewed the impact of an EAP on employees who received care via video, phone or chat, versus those who participated in face-to-face counseling. Participants who used face-to-face counseling reported higher productivity gains (10.01 points for in-person, compared to 7.32 [SPS-6]) and absenteeism reduction (6.54 hours, compared to 4.57 [WOS]) than those who used telebehavioral counseling.


EAP-driven absenteeism reduction and productivity improvement was lowest for those who used the program in the winter.

Historically, EAP utilization rates are highest in the Winter, when situational stressors are more common and conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (and its milder version, the “winter blues”) are most prevalent. However, higher utilization doesn’t always correlate to improved outcomes. During the winter months, EAP-driven improvements in productivity (5.54) and reductions in absenteeism (6.79 hours) were significantly lower than the CuraLinc’s book of business averages.


Employees who used the EAP under a formal management referral were more likely to make productivity gains.

Formal management referrals, or FMRs, occur when a manager or Human Resources professional directs an employee to utilize EAP services after formally notifying the employee that he/she has either violated a company policy or exhibited behavior that negatively impacts their productivity and/or the workplace. Given the basis of an FMR, it’s not surprising that employees who use the EAP under these circumstances realize significant productivity gains and lower absenteeism. From among all employees who completed the post-treatment survey, 58 used the program as part of an FMR and their productivity improvement (8.07) and absenteeism reduction (31.53 hours) were both well over average.