The prevalence of posttraumatic growth in emergency ambulance personnel

Shakespeare-Finch, Jane E., Smith, Sandra J., Gow, Kathryn M., Embelton, Gary, & Baird, Leith S. (2003) The prevalence of posttraumatic growth in emergency ambulance personnel. Traumatology, 9(1), pp. 58-70.

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Departing from a deprivation approach to the study of trauma, a small body of literature has recently emerged that examines positive, rather than negative, post-trauma changes. Studies to date have focused on individuals’ positive reactions to a personally endured traumatic event for example, as bereaved parents, living with HIV/AIDS, or surviving cancer. Negative symptoms following a traumatic event that is experienced during the course of fulfilling professional obligations (e.g., in ambulance, fire and police services), are reported to be akin to the negative post-trauma symptoms found in direct survivors of a traumatic event. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of self-reported positive changes (posttraumatic growth) in emergency ambulance personnel, a population that are readily exposed to potentially traumatic incidents. Results indicated that a large proportion of both seasoned ambulance personnel and new recruits to the service, perceived positive changes in themselves that they attributed to having experienced a traumatic event at work. A significant mean difference was also detected between personnel who had endured a personal trauma in addition to a work-related trauma (n = 281) and personnel who had endured trauma only in the course of their employment responsibilities (n = 217). The study supports theoretical and clinical expectations that the experience of occupational trauma can act as a catalyst for significant positive post-trauma changes.

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ID Code: 6992
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link) or contact the author. Author contact details:
Keywords: Post, traumatic growth, emergency personnel, occupational trauma, positive post, trauma change
DOI: 10.1177/153476560300900104
ISSN: 1085-9373
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Industrial and Organisational Psychology (170107)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Sage Publications
Deposited On: 18 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 12:59

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