Dispatchers who answer 911 and 999 emergency calls suffer emotional distress which can lead to symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a new study reports. The research, published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, reveals that direct exposure to traumatic events is not necessary to lead to post-trauma disorders.
The research was conducted by Dr Michelle Lilly from Northern Illinois University and researcher Heather Pierce, a former 911 dispatcher.
"Post-Traumatic psychological disorders are usually associated with front line emergency workers, such as police officers, fire fighters or combat veterans," said Dr Lilly. "Usually research considers links between disorders and how much emotional distress is experienced on the scene of a traumatic event. However, this is the first study on emergency dispatchers, who experience the trauma indirectly."
The research analyzed the responses of 171 currently serving emergency dispatchers from 24 US states. The majority of the sample was female and Caucasian, with an average age of 38 and over 11 years of service.
The dispatchers were asked about the types of potentially traumatic calls they handle and the amount of emotional distress they experienced. They were also asked to rate the types of calls which caused the most distress and to remember the worst call they had dealt with during their career.
The most commonly identified worst calls were the unexpected injury or death of a child, 16.4%, followed by suicidal callers, 12.9%, shootings involving officers, 9.9%, and calls involving the unexpected death of an adult, 9.9%.
The results showed that levels of peritraumatic distress, distress experienced during or after an event, reported by dispatchers was high and occurred in reaction to an average of 32% of potentially traumatic calls. A further 3.5% of the sample reported symptoms severe enough to qualify for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
These results are a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on defining a traumatic event, which takes place as official guidelines are set to be published in 2013. This research supports a broad definition as it shows dispatchers experience significant levels of emotional distress at work even though they are not physically present during a traumatic event, or even know the victim of a trauma.
"Our research is the first to reveal the extent of emotional distress experienced by emergency dispatchers while on duty," concluded Pierce. "The results show the need to provide these workers with prevention and intervention support as is currently provided for their frontline colleagues. This includes briefings and training in ways to handle emotional distress."
Jennifer Beal | EurekAlert!
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses