Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Emergency dispatchers suffer from symptoms of PTSD, study reveals

29.03.2012
Indirect exposure to traumatic incidents can lead to psychological disorders

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!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>