• Trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder and the effect of explanatory variables in paramedic trainees

    by Alan Batt. Last modified: 04/05/14

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    Fjeldheim CB, Nöthling J, Pretorius K, Basson M, Ganasen K, Heneke R, Cloete KJ, Seedat S. Trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder and the effect of explanatory variables in paramedic trainees. BMC Emerg Med. 2014 Apr 23;14(1):11. PMID: 24755358.

    openaccess

    Abstract

    Background

    Emergency healthcare workers, including trainees and individuals in related occupations are at heightened risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression owing to work-related stressors.We aimed to investigate the type, frequency, and severity of direct trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms and other psychopathology amongst paramedic trainees. In order to create a risk profile for individuals who are at higher occupational risk of developing PTSD, we examined risk and resilience factors that possibly contributed to the presence and severity of posttraumatic symptomatology.

    Methods

    Paramedic trainees (n = 131) were recruited from a local university. A logistic regression analysis was conducted using the explanatory variables age, gender, population group, trauma exposure, depression, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, resilience and social support.

    Results

    94% of paramedic trainees had directly experienced trauma, with 16% meeting PTSD criteria. A high rate of depression (28%), alcohol abuse (23%) and chronic perceived stress (7%) and low levels of social support was found. The number of previous trauma exposures, depression, resilience and social support significantly predicted PTSD status and depression had a mediating effect.

    Conclusion

    There is a need for efficient, ongoing screening of depressive and PTSD symptomatology in trauma exposed high risk groups so that early psychological supportive interventions can be offered.

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    Alan Batt

    Alan Batt

    Paramedic, educator, researcher
    Alan is a critical care paramedic, paramedic educator and prehospital researcher, currently working around the world as an educator and researcher. He has previously worked and studied across Europe, North America and the Middle East. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Intensive Care Paramedic Studies, and an MSc in Critical Care. His main interests are in care of the elderly, end-of-life care, patient safety, professionalism (including role and identity), and paramedic education.

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