Secondary traumatic stress and resilience among EMS

Cindy L Austin
June 2018

Aim:The current study investigated the positive and negative psychological adaptations that are a result of secondary traumatic stress, and the role of resilience among paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).Methods:Emergency medical service (EMS) providers anonymously completed four validated questionnaires on: secondary traumatic stress, post-traumatic growth, resilience, and changes in outlook. Relationships between these constructs and demographics were explored.Findings:Overall, EMS participants reported a higher-than-average positive change in outlook. Resilience (p<0.001) was significantly inversely related to secondary traumatic stress and negative change in outlook. EMS working part-time demonstrated a significantly higher level of resilience (p=0.005) compared with full-time. Post-traumatic growth was significantly higher (p=0.03) in EMTs compared with paramedics. No significant differences (p>0.05) were detected between years of experience for any attributes analysed.Conclusion:Findings demonstrated significant correlations between secondary traumatic stress, resilience, post-traumatic growth, and changes in outlook in EMTs and paramedics.

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