Though working in the ambulance service implies persistent confrontation with human suffering and exposure to significant work-related stressors, previous research revealed comparatively low self-reported stress in paramedics. This study investigated stress, personality traits, sensation seeking and resilience in paramedics. Moreover, the impact of psychological variables on individual differences in paramedics' stress burden was explored.
A convenience sample of 395 paramedics and 397 professionals from other disciplines completed the Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Stress Coping Style Questionnaire, Big Five Inventory, Sensation Seeking Scale and Resilience Scale. Multivariate group comparison and regression analysis were performed.
Compared to other professionals, paramedics reported lower stress burden, more positive and less negative coping strategies, lower neuroticism and higher extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, adventure seeking and resilience. In the regression analysis conducted on paramedics, positive coping, resilience, extraversion and conscientiousness negatively predicted perceived stress; negative coping and neuroticism were positive predictors.
The cross-sectional design of the study limits the interpretability of the data.
Training in stress management and resilience should be core elements in the education of paramedics.
The findings confirm the notion of reduced stress burden and increased resilience in paramedics. Regarding personality traits, a pattern of emotional stability, conscientiousness, extraversion, prosocial attitudes and propensity to exciting experiences might characterize this group. Moreover, the use of adaptive coping strategies, high levels of resilience, extraversion and conscientiousness and low neuroticism are associated with lower stress burden in paramedics.
The authors are grateful to Carina Erlebach and Annika Pohl for their help with data acquisition.Data deposition: The research data of the study are available to the public via the repository Open Science Framework (OSF: https://osf.io/42jsx/).
Duschek, S., Bair, A., Haux, S., Garrido, A. and Janka, A. (2020), "Stress in paramedics: relationships with coping strategies and personality traits", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-06-2019-0029Download as .RIS
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