The purpose of this study is to explore the empirical literature on the resilience of firefighters related to potentially traumatic events (PTE). This paper identifies how resilience is defined in this particular research field, reveals trends in applied research methods and examines the main topics addressed in previous research.
Web of Science, PsycARTICLES and Google Scholar databases were searched, as well as a secondary manual screening of the reference lists of all the selected studies and Dutch academic journals. Based on this review, 54 empirical articles were included in the current paper.
Firstly, this paper revealed that there is no consensus in how to define the concept of resilience in this specific research area. A second observation was that most of the selected studies used a quantitative, cross-sectional research design. Finally, the 54 empirical studies provided insights on six topics: the role of the organization, demographic factors, personal characteristics, coping strategies, social support and the reactions of firefighters in the aftermath of PTE. Comparing the empirical results was challenged by the different interpretations and denominations of the concept of resilience and the myriad of measurement techniques applied across the selected articles.
This literature review discovered some promising avenues for future research regarding resilience of firefighters. Moreover, it demonstrated that studying resilience is particularly interesting as the identification of supporting factors leads to a better understanding of how to enhance the well-being, job satisfaction and job performance of firefighters.
Laureys, V. and Easton, M. (2020), "Resilience of firefighters exposed to potentially traumatic events: a literature review", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-05-2019-0021Download as .RIS
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