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NCJ Number: 221960 Find in a Library
Title: Postmortem Inquiries and Trauma Responses in Paramedics and Firefighters
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence  Volume:18  Issue:6  Dated:June 2003  Pages:607-622
Author(s): Cheryl Regehr; John Hill; Gerald Goldberg; Judy Hughes
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Trauma responses of firefighters and paramedics who had been questioned in postmortem inquiries following a critical event in which they had been involved were compared with trauma responses of firefighters and paramedics who had not participated in such inquiries.
Abstract: As predicted in the hypotheses, involvement in a postmortem inquiry was linked to significantly higher levels of traumatic stress symptoms and depression compared with those who had not participated in such an inquiry. Those involved in postmortem inquiries were significantly more likely to report taking stress-related leave from work than those who were not involved in such inquiries. The length of the postmortem inquiry was significantly associated with traumatic stress scores. Although media coverage of the critical event and the postmortem inquiry was not linked to traumatic stress symptoms, it was associated with higher levels of depression. These findings provide strong support for clinical impressions that many emergency responders experience postmortem inquiries as more stressful than the critical event itself. Higher levels of social support were associated with lower levels of depression and traumatic stress scores for both emergency responders involved in inquiries and those who were not. Management and unions should develop support programs for workers involved in postmortem inquiries, focusing on reducing their sense of isolation and instilling confidence in their competence. This study was conducted in two emergency service organizations in the greater Toronto area (Canada): a fire department and an ambulance service. A total of 178 participants were firefighters, and 86 were paramedics. Out of the total sample, 83 percent had been exposed to some type of critical event in the line of duty; 23.9 percent had been involved in a formal review of a tragic event. The data collected pertained to demographics, stressors, and support; social supports; current level of distress; internal control; and self-efficacy. 2 tables and 43 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Canada; Crisis intervention; Critical incident stress; Death investigations; Firefighters; Foreign criminal justice research; Medical and dental services; Stress management
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