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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 12: Prevention of Work-Stress-Related Health Complaints in Firefighters

Judith K. Sluiter, Marie-Christine J. Plat and Monique H.W. Frings-Dresen


Judith K. Sluiter, Marie-Christine J. Plat and Monique H.W. Frings-Dresen Firefighters perform job tasks that can be described as both physically and psychologically demanding (e.g. Sluiter, 2006). In this chapter, we discuss stress-related health complaints, such as stress symptoms, psychosomatic complaints, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety and depression, which are common mental disorders observed in the working population and are known to be associated with work stressors (Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases). In the first section we discuss two topics: how often stress-related health complaints are observed in firefighters; and, the known work-related risk factors for stress-related health complaints in firefighters. In the second section we highlight areas that have led to debates and discussions in the public and scientific domains. In the third section we provide an overview of recent literature on practiced interventions to prevent (further) stress-related health complaints and discuss early detection methods. In the final section we suggest future research topics. As background for this chapter, we used different keywords associated with the firefighting profession to perform a comprehensive, systematic search of recent literature (between 2005 and 2010). We searched the Pubmed, PsycInfo and PILOTS databases, Google and the Dutch Grey Literature Network Service (reports from the firefighting sector and multidisciplinary guidelines) between 2005 and 2010. Older but key literature mentioned in the articles found was also included. THE PREVALENCE OF STRESS-RELATED HEALTH COMPLAINTS IN FIREFIGHTERS AND WORK-RELATED RISK FACTORS We discuss the prevalence of stress-related health complaints in firefighters and examine the work-related...

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