By: Bailee Pelham
“Previous research on the mental health of firefighters has shown that they are at a greater risk than the majority of the population to develop various mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, very little research has been done on the repetitive cumulative exposure to trauma that is associated with their career, which may lead to elevated levels of mental disorders that may not be detected in one testing. In this study, a series of assessments will be given to a sample of urban firefighters every year for the entirety of their career. The data collected in this study will be analyzed at each testing date using simple regressions, and then the data will be analyzed using time series analysis. The results of this study predict that as a career in the fire service progresses, as age increases, as the average hours of sleep decrease, as their rank within the department rises, as the number or critical incidents attended, and as the number of critical incident stress debriefings attended increase, all of the mental disorders measures will increase. Not only do the simple regressions show evidence of an increased aptitude for mental illness, but also the time series analysis will show that the mental illnesses continue to amplify throughout a career in the fire service. The results of this study could have massive implications for the fire service’s treatment of mental health stigmatization.”
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