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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Shannon Wagner, Alex Fraess-Phillips and Kelly Mikkelson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the predispositional hypothesis related to the “rescue personality” and the mental health of firefighter recruits.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the predispositional hypothesis related to the “rescue personality” and the mental health of firefighter recruits.

Design/methodology/approach

This study compared responses to a written set of personality and mental health measures between firefighter recruits and non-rescue comparison participants – individually matched based on age, gender, ethnicity, and marital status. Data analysis involved statistical one-way between subjects analyses of variance complemented with epidemiological paired odds ratio calculations.

Findings

The results indicated that firefighter recruits self-reported as less open to experience, less neurotic, and less Type A. They also self-reported as less likely to report somatization, hostility, and posttraumatic stress symptomatology than comparison participants. Recruits were higher in extraversion and conscientiousness, but indicated no differences in perceptions of risk or sensation-seeking behaviour.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the literature on firefighter recruits and provides some initial data regarding personality of those attracted to the fire services, as well as information about the mental health of firefighters prior to service. Mitchell’s “rescue personality” was partly supported and evidence was provided suggesting that new recruits have strong self-perceived mental health.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2019

Shannon Wagner, Nicole White, Lynda R. Matthews, Christine Randall, Cheryl Regehr, Marc White, Lynn E. Alden, Nicholas Buys, Mary G. Carey, Wayne Corneil, Trina Fyfe, Elyssa Krutop, Alex Fraess-Phillips and Matthew H. Fleischmann

The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the extant literature on depression and anxiety disorders in police using a multinational data set to determine whether the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate the extant literature on depression and anxiety disorders in police using a multinational data set to determine whether the prevalence of these trauma-related disorders (TRMDs) is elevated in comparison to the general population.

Design/methodology/approach

Systematic review was employed in combination with best-evidence narrative synthesis to evaluate these hypotheses.

Findings

Despite wide variability in prevalence outcomes across the literature, strong evidence supports the hypothesis that the prevalence of depression is elevated in police, whereas moderate evidence supports the same hypothesis regarding anxiety. Preliminary evaluation of commonly examined predictive factors for each disorder demonstrated weak and inconsistent associations between these TRMDs and sociodemographic factors. No studies evaluated the relationship between incident-related factors (e.g. severity or frequency of exposure) and TRMDs, thus, at present, the literature on police is almost entirely unable to address the question of whether the prevalence of these disorders in police is influenced by exposure to work-related trauma.

Research limitations/implications

The findings highlight a critical need for future work to address incident-related factors in predicting symptoms of depression and anxiety in police samples to determine whether these disorders bear a unique relationship to work-related traumatic exposure. Such work will significantly benefit the design and implementation of successful prevention and intervention strategies in the workplace.

Originality/value

The present review provides a comprehensive synthesis of a highly variable literature, highlighting critical gaps in our current knowledge of TRMDs in police and suggesting numerous avenues for future study.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Alex Fraess-Phillips, Shannon Wagner and R. Luke Harris

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the literature with respect to traumatic stress in a firefighting context. The goal was to provide a clear and concise review…

2196

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the literature with respect to traumatic stress in a firefighting context. The goal was to provide a clear and concise review intended for use by both researchers and practitioners. Firefighters are an under-researched group in the academic literature and updated review articles are necessary to advance this body of work.

Design/methodology/approach

Searches of the English language literature on firefighters and traumatic stress were completed and supplemented with a review of clinical information related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The search was comprehensive but was not guided by systematic review guidelines.

Findings

Research regarding firefighters and traumatic stress is limited and inconsistent in outcome. Much of the available literature supports a link between fire service work and increased post-traumatic symptomatology; however, some research has neglected to demonstrate a relationship for these factors. Some efforts such as the training of coping skills and team building may improve firefighters’ resilience to PTSD, while therapeutic and psychopharmacological treatments may be effective in reducing PTSD progression.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, no previous paper is available that has specifically intended to address firefighters and traumatic stress in a review format for researchers and practitioners. In the authors’ experience, fire service members are eager for literature addressing their profession and presented in a manner accessible for both non-academic and academic audiences.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Paresh Wankhade and DeMond S. Miller

480

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Paresh Wankhade and DeMond S. Miller

261

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Article
Publication date: 27 September 2022

Keith A. Fredin

This paper evaluates the value and necessity of greater equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in Canadian fire departments. Rather than focussing on changing hiring practices, the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper evaluates the value and necessity of greater equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in Canadian fire departments. Rather than focussing on changing hiring practices, the paper seeks to highlight how leadership can implement a culture of EDI that will encourage all people to participate.

Design/methodology/approach

From a leadership perspective, this paper aims to show how EDI can improve firefighter teamwork and job performance whilst satisfying moral obligations to better represent Canadian communities. Strategies and their limitations for communication and culture change are discussed.

Findings

Leaders of Canadian fire departments can utilise organisational change models focussing on improved communication techniques and models to implement cultural changes needed to allow for more EDI. Specific recommendations based on business research into culture change, communication and EDI are outlined.

Practical implications

Recommendations to fire department leadership for cultural changes and communication are provided. Further, strategies and reasoning for why inclusive departments are more effective are given.

Social implications

Creating a more inclusive culture in fire departments will lead to an increase in applications from people who have not typically applied in the past.

Originality/value

There has been little research or recommendations on increasing EDI in Canadian fire departments through cultural changes. Most existing literature is vague and tends to focus on hiring practices over an analysis of internal culture. This article provides analysis of best business practices and applies those to the cultural context of fire departments to promote culture change.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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