A study of perceived sources of stress in the Devon Ambulance Service was carried out using interview and questionnaire surveys. Semi‐structured and non‐directive interview surveys were used to identify broad areas which were regarded as being stressful, while the questionnaire survey attempted to establish more precisely the levels of stress associated with different situations faced by Ambulance Service personnel. Factor analysis of the questionnaire results yielded four main elements: organisational and managerial aspects; new, unfamiliar and difficult duties/uncertainty; work overload; and interpersonal relations. The questionnaire results indicated that the most significant sources of stress were extrinsic, mainly involving the way Ambulance Service personnel were treated by other people. Based on the interview survey results, however, it is argued that the format of the questionnaire survey may have led to an underestimation of the role of intrinsic factors as a source of stress, particularly those involved with dealing with patients.
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