Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector
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Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Silvia Pignata

This timely Handbook addresses the concepts of stress and well-being among workers in various public sector roles and occupations across the globe. Emphasizing the importance of well-being and stress prevention initiatives in ever-changing workplace environments, this Handbook highlights successful organizational initiatives and provides insight into best practice for promoting healthy employees and workplaces. Containing contributions from leading international experts in their respective fields, the contributors hope that this multi-disciplinary Handbook will help to enhance the health and well-being of public sector employees.
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Chapter 5: Stress and well-being of first responders

Dessa Bergen-Cico, Pruthvi Kilaru, Rachael Rizzo and Patricia Buore

Abstract

First responders place themselves in harm’s way, providing public safety and urgent on-site pre-hospital health care. Their work is physically demanding, requiring 24-hour coverage and ongoing exposure to injury, violence, death and destruction. Rates of post-traumatic stress among first responders ranges from 8 to 32 percent and vary based on the setting, source of the crisis, available support, training, and personal characteristics. Chronic stress and unaddressed trauma can affect first responders’ work performance, relationships, morbidity, and mortality. Traumatic stress can dysregulate neurophysiology and negatively impact psychological and physical health. To remain in the workforce and have a healthy quality of life, it is imperative that first responders are afforded the same psychological support and care that they provide to others. Psychological first aid, support, and cognitive behavioral strategies are among the most promising strategies for fostering resiliency and reducing the impact of stress and PTSD among first responders.

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