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    Trauma and work factors as predictors of firefighters’ psychiatric distress

    Teoh, Kevin and Lima, E. and Vasconcelos, A. and Nascimento, E. and Cox, Tom (2019) Trauma and work factors as predictors of firefighters’ psychiatric distress. Occupational Medicine 69 (8-9), pp. 598-603. ISSN 0962-7480.

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    Background: Studies into the mental health of firefighters have primarily focussed on individual factors (e.g. biological and psychological factors). Little is known about how exposure to traumatic events and psychosocial and organizational work factors influence firefighters’ mental health despite the evidence that these are important for employee health. Aims: To study job demands, job control, social support and operational trauma as predictors of firefighters’ psychiatric morbidity, and whether job control and social support moderate these relationships. Methods: Participants were drawn from a longitudinal cohort study of firefighters in Brazil. Portuguese-language variants of the Self-Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) and Traumatic Events List for Emergency Professionals measured psychiatric morbidity and exposure to traumatic events. Job demands, job control and social support were measured by the Job Stress Scale. Hierarchical regressions were run controlling for socio-demographics and previous psychiatric morbidity. Subsequent regression steps first included the proposed predictors followed by their interactions. Results Thirteen per cent of the sample (n = 40/312) met the caseness criteria indicating psychiatric morbidity. Operational trauma, job demands, job control and social support predicted psychiatric morbidity. Both job control and social support functioned as moderators and where these moderators were high, the job demands and psychiatric morbidity relationships were weaker. Conclusions: These findings show that psychosocial factors and operational trauma predict firefighters’ psychiatric morbidity. Crucially, the results that improving social support and job control could mitigate the detrimental influence of job demands highlight the need for more research and practice towards organizational-level interventions.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Sustainable Working Life, Centre for
    Depositing User: Kevin Teoh
    Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2020 10:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:57


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