Data_Sheet_1_Deconstructing Traumatic Mission Experiences: Identifying Critical Incidents and Their Relevance for the Mental and Physical Health Among.PDF (470.53 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Deconstructing Traumatic Mission Experiences: Identifying Critical Incidents and Their Relevance for the Mental and Physical Health Among Emergency Medical Service Personnel.PDF

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posted on 22.10.2019, 04:34 authored by Alexander Behnke, Roberto Rojas, Sarah Karrasch, Melissa Hitzler, Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel frequently encounter emotionally stressful or even traumatic incidents in their line of duty. In this study, a checklist of emotionally stressful events for the German EMS was introduced. A mixed-method approach was used to identify mission events that were critical for the development of mental and physical stress symptoms. Data were collected in a cross-sectional sample of 102 EMS employees. A quantitative content analysis of the participants’ worst experiences on duty indicated, traumatic missions to be a concatenation of two to five emotionally stressful events. Rescue missions were experienced as traumatic if (i) EMS personnel became victims of attacks or threats; (ii) certain circumstances caused them to give up their professional detachment from patients; (iii) EMS personnel perceived the overall mission as exceptionally tragic. In subsequent correlation analyses, the corresponding checklist items showed consistent positive associations with the post-traumatic, depressive and physical stress symptoms among the study cohort. Within the exploratory regressions, the sum score of critical on-duty exposures contributed incrementally to the prediction of mental and physical stress symptoms when non-work-related trauma exposure and perceived social support were also considered. Findings point toward the importance of considering the cumulative burden of critical incidents for the long-term health of EMS personnel. Future research is needed to investigate, how on-duty trauma affects the social support EMS personnel received from their work and personal relationships.

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